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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • Letter from the HFTP Global President: At the End of the Year, We Reflect on the Best of the Year

    As we prepare to transition to the new HFTP Global board at the 2018 Annual Convention in October, I would like to take the time to reflect on my year serving as HFTP Global president.

  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • IT Spending in the Lodging Industry Three-year Analysis: 2015–2017

    By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Arlene Ramirez, CHE, CHAE; and Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. PART II: An analysis of IT spending data in the lodging industry based on reporting in the new USALI Schedule 6 — Information and Telecommunications Systems.

AccorHotels Balances Asset-Light and Acquisition Strategies: New Skift Research Report

skift.com - Hotels·7h
With the sale of a majority stake in the company's owned and leased hotel business, AccorHotels is a more stable, nimble company, with the ability to pursue additional acquisitions and other strategic initiatives. In our latest research report, we break down what going asset-light means for the company and tackle ways of measuring the success of its M&A strategy.

Corporate Hotel and Air Business Remains Strong, But for How Long?

skift Inc. ·8h
It's been a strong year for corporate travel in general, with both hotel chains and airlines reporting robust growth as businesses continue to send their employees across the world.On their earnings calls in recent weeks for third quarter results, top executives across travel expressed optimism for the future of continued corporate travel growth. Still, signs are emerging that an economic slowdown is coming soon.Hotel rates are high, putting pressure on the people who plan meetings and events. There are also lingering concerns around the effect that ongoing trade wars and negotiations around the world will have, along with uncertainty creeping into global stock markets. While the major players in corporate travel are getting along more nicely than before, the collaboration may not last if financial pressure increases.Here's the latest from leaders across the industry on the state of corporate travel and their efforts to attract business travelers.MARRIOTT CEO ARNE SORENSON ON CORPORATE RATES AND MEETING PLANNERS"We have regular dialogue with our big corporate customers as it relates to both group and their transient travelers. We have regular sessions with group planners. Sometimes, those are folks in intermediary platforms. And often, those are folks internally at corporate or association customers. I think overwhelmingly, the response has been not just positive but enthusiastically positive. They appreciate the breadth of choice."They appreciate the execution that we're bringing to the portfolio of both group boxes in which we are, far and away, the biggest in the industry. And I think we're hearing from our association corporate group customers that they love the breadth of choice that we offer within our portfolio. And similarly, I think we hear from the business transient traveler that they like very much the breadth of choice that we're offering. And so when we see our share of the total travel book of some of our biggest corporate clients, we see that share generally growing, and the relationship is generally very robust...

Hotel Occupancies, Rent Growth Remain Strong, with a Positive Outlook for 2019

National Real Estate Investor (NREI) Online ·8h
Hotels are doing better than ever. More rooms have been occupied in 2018 at higher rents than ever before."We are at peak performance--and we don't expect that to change much," says Jan Freitag, senior vice president of lodging insights for research firm STR.Hotel owners still worry about the rising costs to operate their businesses, however. Even though the average revenue produced by hotel rooms is likely to keep rising, room rates are not growing as quickly as the cost of operations."The name of the game is cost control," says Freitag.Demand for hotel rooms is still risingHotel rooms are full in cities and towns across the United States. Occupancy rates reached a cyclical high in 2018, according to Robin Trantham, a consultant with research firm CoStar Portfolio Strategy.Over the 12 months that ended in September, occupancy across the U.S. averaged 66.7 percent. "We are selling two out of three rooms all year," says Freitag. "We are at the strongest demand level ever."

The Big-Money Reinvention of the Humble Hostel: A Skift Deep Dive

Onyx ·11h
It took AccorHotels only 18 months to bring its hostel-like concept Jo&Joe to life.The hospitality giant had been watching the sector, studying where it might be able to make its mark before it hit on, what it thought, was the right approach."The market has changed and for us it was a time just to see that this kind of market is going more and more professional with bigger brands, with real concepts and we decided to get into it," Francois Leclerc, vice president of brand and operations at Jo&Joe, told Skift.The likes of Accor and now Hilton, think the hostel market is ripe for disruption. These are not scrappy upstarts but rather the established hotel companies looking to use their scale to pick up a different type of consumer.Hostels certainly aren't a new invention; they have been have been around for more than a century but up until fairly recently they weren't part of the wider hospitality conversation. Sure, as a business model in hospitality they've been evolving in their own way.Way back when, It was those people passionate about traveling who decided to lease their own building, sort out a supply of bunks, and throw open their doors. It wasn't necessarily about making a truck load of cash, but more about bringing people together.Big hoteliers and investors hadn't taken much notice, favoring other areas such as vacation rentals.

RCI and Bluegreen Vacations Renew Affiliation to Continue Providing Vacation Exchange Benefits to Members and Owners

RCI (Resort Condominium International) ·20 November 2018
RCI, the worldwide leader in vacation exchange (NYSE: WYND), and Bluegreen Vacations Corporation (NYSE: BXG) ("Bluegreen" or the "Company") have renewed their affiliation agreement. Through the renewal, Bluegreen Vacations' more than 60 vacation resorts will continue to be part of the RCI exchange network. Properties are located across the United States and Caribbean in destinations including Orlando, Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Aspen and New York City."Bluegreen is a company built on the strength of its long-term relationships," said Famous Rhodes, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Bluegreen Vacations. "As such, we are very excited about the renewal of this longstanding partnership with RCI, which provides a unique value to our growing Bluegreen Vacation Club Membership."As the exclusive exchange provider for Bluegreen Vacation Club, RCI offers Bluegreen Vacations owners access to more than 4,300 properties in 110 countries. In turn, RCI members can exchange for stays at one of Bluegreen Vacations' 60 properties, which include:The Manhattan Club, a residence-style boutique hotel that's just steps away from Time Square, Broadway and Central Park in New York City, New YorkThe Eilan Hotel and Spa, a boutique hotel in San Antonio, Texas, that features a 10-treatment-room spa and resort-style pools surrounded by beautiful Italian-inspired architecture"RCI and Bluegreen Vacations have been great partners for many years," said Gordon Gurnik, president of RCI. "During this time, we've had the great opportunity to send families on the vacations of their dreams, and we're excited to continue offering RCI members and Bluegreen Vacations owners the chance to make more life-long memories in the future."

Third-Tier Growth Spurt

Lodging Magazine ·20 November 2018
With suburban hotel performance surpassing the growth rate for urban properties, many hoteliers are turning to secondary and tertiary markets to meet the demand for up-and-coming travel destinations. Among them is the management company Charlestowne Hotels. Its President and CEO Michael W. Tall says that the company is making the growth of boutique properties in second- and third-tier cities a main focus of their 2019 business plan. In a recent interview with LODGING, Tall described this tertiary-tier tourism boom and his company's participation in it.Tall notes growing interest in secondary and tertiary markets across the industry. "Now more than ever, the interests of travelers--including those termed 'adventure travelers'--are piqued by the unknown and unseen. As a result, travel to small, off-the-beaten-path towns has grown." However, he observes, a significant portion of these travelers have no interest in roughing it. "They bring with them their big-city expectations: Even a one-stoplight town needs quality and interesting accommodations."Tall says Charlestowne recognized a need for such accommodations via lifestyle hotels that connect with their local community and deliver an authentic sense of place in these markets--including university towns and others considered to be "under the radar". Tall points out numerous advantages of university markets in particular, including their consistency and predictability.
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Maestro PMS Helps Free Up Staff, Empowers Guests with Self-Serve Online Payment Portal; 'Anytime,' 'Any Device'

NORTHWIND-Maestro ·19 November 2018
Markham, Ontario - Maestro PMS just made advanced payment processes safer and more convenient for independent operators and their guests. Maestro adds to its full array of mobile and online solutions with the launch of its Payment Portal module that engages guests online by connecting them with a property to quickly make payments against their upcoming reservations. The new system also saves the property time and reduces collection fees by automatically emailing deposit reminders. Maestro PMS is the preferred cloud and on-premise property software solution. Maestro offers web browser and windows access in either deployment for independent hotels, luxury resorts, conference centers and multi-property groups."Maestro's new Payment Portal is ideal for guests who want the flexibility to self-serve their advance deposit payments. It is a perfect way for properties to engage with guests and meet the mobile needs of today's travelers," said Warren Dehan, Maestro PMS President. "Our Payment Portal module lets guests make payments anytime from any device without giving their credit card number over the phone. The system uses a secure website that is fully integrated in Maestro property software so advance deposits are posted real time."The module lets a hotel automatically email payment reminders with a link to the Payment Portal at predetermined intervals to free the accounting staff for other duties. Maestro's Payment Portal website is branded with the property software's look and feel and is fully secure for credit card payments. "The module is flexible to adapt to any property's billing policies for single or multiple advance deposit payments," said Dehan. "In the future the Payment Portal will be available for use by condo properties, club member payments and corporate contract groups."The Maestro Property Management System delivers flexible and scalable deployment options with an identical full-featured web browser or windows solution available in the cloud or on premise. Maestro's revenue-generating hotel management software tools and services increase profitability, drive direct bookings, centralize operations and provide personalized and mobile guest service tools to enhance the guest experience. Click here for more information on how to engage and socialize with Maestro PMS.About Maestro PMS Maestro is the preferred cloud and on-premises PMS solution for independent hotels, luxury resorts, conference centers, vacation rentals, and multi-property groups. Maestro's PCI certified and EMV ready enterprise system offers 20+ integrated modules on a single database including web and mobile apps to increase profitability, drive direct bookings, centralize operations, and enable operators to engage guests with a personalized experience. For over 40 years Maestro's Diamond Plus Service has provided unparalleled 24/7 North American based support and education services to keep hospitality groups operational and productive. Click here for more information on Maestro.

Duetto founder: "90% of hoteliers are missing this massive profit opportunity"

Hotel Tech Report·19 November 2018
Hotel revenue management is changing quickly but not quickly enough. According to our sources less than 1 in 10 hotels in 2018 are leveraging revenue management software to price their rooms. Dynamic pricing went mainstream with Uber's "surge pricing" model; however, it's been used by airlines, hotels and other industries for decades.

Expectations vs. Agreements

The Hotel Financial Coach ·19 November 2018
In life, few things make us less productive and more distant than other people's expectations of us. Expectations are everywhere, at work and at home. People detest others expectations.Uncommunicated expectations were not productive, especially when real work and strong relationships were required. Yet uncommunicated expectations were cast everywhere and they were weak.If I had a complaint in my world, it quickly became an expectation that someone else needed to fix. I tended to fixate over the injustice and in doing so I created my expectations. What I saw was that this was completely ineffective for getting things to change. Complaints were very easy to ignore and diminish; however, requests were not easy to ignore. Once we made a request we were heading in the right direction, because on the other side of a request we now have the ability to make an agreement.Let's take a hotel example. Currently, I was having a very hard time getting other managers to prepare detailed monthly forecasts and get these to me by the 30th of the month. I sent a schedule and reminders. I spoke at the department head meetings about the deadline, but I still didn't get a high success rate on submissions. It was always a struggle to get others to do what I expected. Without the forecast, I was left with two very unattractive options: do it myself or go without it. Both options meant I was shortchanged because others were not living up to my expectations.Now, I had two alternatives: 1) Complain about it, which I had done for years without results, or 2) Make another request. This was the pivot point.If I was willing to admit that my current status was due to my expectations, and I could bring myself to ask the other party for agreement, the conversation might go something like this."Peter, will you help me? I want to include your numbers, not mine, as part of the detailed forecast. Will you complete your part and get it to me by noon on the 30th?"Now it might not be easy for Peter to say, "Sure, no problem."But now the exact expectation was known because it was what was asked for. Or the request might get reviewed in a different light like, "I could, but that means I'm going to have to rearrange my week because my assistant is on holiday and our second office computer is dead."This was what I wanted to hear. This was the foundation of an agreement as now both parties asked for something. It was no longer the case of my having a single expectation. Now there were multiple balls in the air; some were mine and some belonged to other people.Turn the unmet expectation into a request and the request into an agreement like this: "OK, so I will send the systems person to your office today to switch out the second computer, but I'm not sure what I can do to help you rearrange the rest of the week."To which Peter replied, "No worries, with the computer replaced I can manage. I will gladly get you my forecast by the 30th."Let's break it down and figure out what happened in this example:I changed my language from a tired, self-centered expectation into a request.Peter asked for my help with meeting his department's needs and then, in return, he will complete my request.I committed to help him with the computer issue.He, in turn, was positive and in agreement in his response to meet my request.This communication exchange was the foundation of an agreement. It passed the test of an agreement because it had four parts, two for me and two for Peter. The test was "give and get." In this example, Peter got his computer fixed and gave me the information on time. I gave the resources to fix the computer and I got the report on time.Before the request and the agreement, it was just me asking. I wasn't giving anything and what it boiled down to was I had an expectation of Peter, but no agreement. That was a weak negotiating position to accomplish any task.Now, some people are reading this and thinking, "I'm the boss and people need to do as I say" or "I don't have time to make agreements with everyone". These issues are partly true. But if expectations aren't getting met, there is nothing to lose in trying this technique.A commitment to drop expectations and start making agreements instead worked best. Yes, it took time to make agreements and find out how to help other people, but it was well worth the investment.

Hospitality Financial Leadership: Expectations vs. Agreements

Hotel Online·19 November 2018
In life, few things make us less productive and more distant than other people’s expectations of us. Expectations are everywhere, at work and at home. People detest others expectations.

A Six-Step Strategy for Increasing Hotel Profitability

Lodging Magazine·19 November 2018
While the rate of revenue growth has slowed nationwide, the U.S. hotel industry has seen increasing profits for eight consecutive years. Hoteliers can narrow the disparity between lagging revenue and increasing profitability by taking proactive measures in management and operations. Here is a six-point strategy that can be used to increase profitability.

Democrats to Target Trump's Hotels Business as Part of Wider Investigation

skift.com - Hotels·19 November 2018
Come the new year, we'll likely learn a lot more about President Trump's business empire, including his tourism assets.

Acquisition Financing Secured For Holiday Inn Fisherman's Wharf San Francisco

Hotel Interactive ·19 November 2018
Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, and JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality group announced the closing of an acquisition and renovation loan for the buyer of the Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco. The 243-key hotel is located in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf submarket and will be repositioned as a Kimpton-branded luxury boutique hotel.

VIDEO: Inside the brains of online travel financial analysts

PhocusWire·19 November 2018
Online travel brands generally get most of the attention on their financial performance when reporting their latest earnings four times a year.

New York's Park Lane Hotel Cleared for Sale After Disgraced Malaysian Financier Drops Claim

mycloud HOSPITALITY·17 November 2018
Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho fooled a lot of people at the highest echelons of global finance. It'll take some time before it's all unraveled.

BlackBerry Buys Cylance to Boost IoT Security

CFO Magazine·16 November 2018
BlackBerry said Friday it will acquire machine-learning specialist Cylance for $1.4 billion to enhance the security of its software for autonomous vehicles and “Enterprise of Things” (EoT) platform.

UK offers budget break for hotels

Hotel Management·16 November 2018
This year’s Autumn Budget of the British Government, an annual budget set by HM Treasury for the following financial year, looked to lift some of the pressure on the nation’s hospitality sector by by cutting business rates.

The Middle East's Hotel Construction Pipeline Hits A New Cyclical High

Lodging Econometrics ·16 November 2018
Analysts at Lodging Econometrics (LE) report that in the third quarter of 2018 the hotel construction pipeline in the Middle East has set another cyclical high with the total pipeline standing at 617 projects/180,097 rooms. The new pipeline project counts are up 8% while room counts show a 15% increase year-over-year (YOY) when the pipeline stood at 572 projects/156,420 rooms. Projects presently under construction are at 360 projects/115,222 rooms and are at a record high. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are at 138 projects/35,299 rooms, and projects in the early planning stage are at 119 projects/29,576 rooms.The pipeline has grown for five consecutive years off of the 2013 lows and has surpassed the development surge of 2007-08 led by Dubai and Abu Dhabi which awakened hotel development in the region. However, growth trends may be starting to slow as construction starts and new projects announced into the pipeline have been declining throughout 2018. Countries with the greatest number of projects in the construction pipeline are the United Arab Emirates with 223 projects/63,734 rooms and Saudi Arabia, at a record high, with 214 projects/76,324 rooms. Qatar follows with 59 projects/14,245 rooms and Egypt with 43 projects/10,237 rooms. Continuing to dominate the construction pipeline in the U.A.E. and throughout the region is Dubai with 169 projects/50,420 rooms. Other notable but distantly following emirate countries are Abu Dhabi with 20 projects/5,058 rooms and Ash-Shariqah with 18 projects/2,671 rooms. Cities with the largest hotel construction pipelines are Riyadh with 61 projects/11,574 rooms, the Provincial region with 58 projects/11,534 rooms, Jeddah with 58 projects/11,520 rooms, Doha, Qatar with 55 projects/12,618 rooms and Makkah with 37 projects/41,696 rooms. Four of the cities with the largest pipelines are in Saudi Arabia and are enjoying record highs in their pipeline project and room counts.AccorHotels is the top company in the Middle East having the largest construction pipeline with 102 projects/28,079 rooms, a record high for the company. Marriott International follows with 95 projects/21,083 rooms, and Hilton Worldwide, also reached record highs in 2018, with 90 projects/25,888 rooms. The leading pipeline brands for these companies are AccorHotels' Ibis brands with 18 projects/5,861 rooms, and Novotel, with 16 projects/5,204 rooms, a record high; Marriott's Courtyard with 21 projects/4,476 rooms, and Residence Inn with 16 projects/1,877 rooms, both of which are also recording their highest pipeline counts; Hilton's full-service Hilton Hotel & Resort with 26 projects/9,280 rooms, and DoubleTree by Hilton with 25 projects/5,873 rooms. The Middle East at 291 rooms per construction project, has the largest average project size in the pipeline of any region in the world as 67% of its pipeline is concentrated in the three highest chain scales: luxury, upper upscale, and upscale. LE expects that new hotel openings in 2018 will be 86 hotels/23,464 rooms, surpassing for the first time the peak of 72 hotels/19,756 rooms set in 2009 following the 2007-08 development surge. New records will be set in both 2019 and 2020 as LE's forecast for new hotel openings predicts that 114 hotels/27,518 rooms and 134 hotels/36,277 rooms will open in each year.

Thailand's smart visa made easier to help foreign investors

Hotel Online·16 November 2018
The Thai government has improved requirements and conditions for the Smart Visa in order to provide greater convenience for foreign investors and experts in targeted industries who are either already working or seeking to work in Thailan

Banta Hospitality Hopes to Replace Defunct Restaurant with New 93-room Holiday Inn Express in New Windsor, NY

Hotel Online·16 November 2018
he Orange County Industrial Development Agency's board voted on Wednesday to consider tax breaks for a $14.35 million project to replace the former Steak & Stein restaurant on Union Avenue in New Windsor with a hotel.

Rome Tour Bus Restriction Stirs Europe's Latest Overtourism Controversy

mycloud HOSPITALITY·15 November 2018
Tour buses bring thousands of people to Rome each day, but many increasingly run on cleaner fuels than their passenger car counterparts. Buses also replace some of those cars and probably know the traffic laws better than the average driver, another reason that has us scratching our heads at Rome's plan.

The History of Financing Boutique Hotels

Hotel Online·14 November 2018
The boutique hotel industry has grown considerably over the last several years, attracting investors and business owners alike. Although every real estate transaction has different considerations, financing a hotel or motel today comes with unique challenges. Looking back at the history of financing boutique hotels can give you an idea of how far this industry has come from its start in the 1980s. It can also help you know where to begin if you’re interested in financing a boutique hotel of your own.

The HFTP Middle East Research Center: November 2018 Bulletin

HFTP ·14 November 2018
The Dubai HFTP Research and Innovation Center at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management has decided to briefly discuss the developing tourism source markets, and utilizing partnership ecosystem. The HFTP Research and Innovation Center hopes this sparks conversation amongst HFTP Dubai Chapter members.

Hotel Image Asset Management Trends for 2019

mycloud HOSPITALITY·13 November 2018
Every year, thousands of hotels fail to make their guests happy. Some are because of factors that are hard to change such as location, but many fail because they don’t keep up on what their guests want. With technology opening up almost endless possibilities, guests’ expectations are changing.
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Auro Hotels Partners with ProfitSword to Maximize Data Management Efficiency and Forecasting Abilities

ProfitSword ·13 November 2018
Greenville, S.C. - November 13, 2018 -ProfitSword, hospitality's premier developer of business intelligence and data integration software, has announced the implementation of its ProfitSage operational and financial reporting solution by Auro Hotels, a hotel developer, owner and manager overseeing 30 upscale properties across the United States. Originally utilizing its own in-house business intelligence platform, Auro Hotels selected ProfitSage in order to implement a more robust and systematic forecasting strategy that could adapt to the company's ongoing growth and increasing complexity, while also maximizing operational efficiency and increasing the potential for additional revenue."After identifying ProfitSword as one of the most highly regarded organizations in serving hospitality's business intelligence needs, along with its impressive customer base, the decision to implement their solutions was a straightforward one to make," states Luke Finley, Chief Financial Officer at Auro Hotels. "Since partnering with ProfitSword, we have been very impressed with the company's commitment to offering personalized support and ensuring that our properties continue to benefit from an unmatched level of data management efficiency."After extensive research in comparing competing solutions and examining the experiences of other hospitality companies, Auro Hotels identified ProfitSword as the industry's go-to provider for implementing a uniform and effective business intelligence process that could also seamlessly integrate with pre-existing systems used across its portfolio. When using ProfitSage, hoteliers at each property will be able to instantly forecast metrics, such as monthly bottom lines, daily labor expenses and accounts payable. With such information automatically uploaded into the ProfitSword user interface in real time and also made available via pre-scheduled reports, Auro Hotels can further ensure that both local hotel and corporate leadership have the necessary data to make informed, yet timely decisions."Like many hospitality management organizations that are experiencing substantial business growth, Auro Hotels required an effective business intelligence solution that could address the increasing number of disparate systems used at each location, and yet still provide staff with the ability to fully understand what their data means and how to use it most effectively," said Colin Findley, VP of business development at ProfitSword. "We are honored to have been given the opportunity to identify the challenges faced by Auro Hotels, and work with them in implementing a solution that precisely meets their needs."As a comprehensive provider of business intelligence solutions, ProfitSword's line of data management platforms also includes ProfitPace, ProfitPlan and ProfitWizard. A solution developed to effectively manage sales data, ProfitPace allows businesses to efficiently monitor sales team efforts to ensure that the company is on track to achieve individual and company sales goals. It also allows for the comparison of sales pace to forecast, budget, prior years and same time last year trends. Using ProfitPlan, hoteliers can incorporate stylized report templates to produce several types of reports required to manage daily tasks and information. ProfitSword's data analysis tool, ProfitWizard, combines business intelligence, decision support, performance management and ad-hoc reporting for efficient analysis of data.

MCR, BLT Close $647.5M Portfolio Financing

hotelbusiness.com·Requires Registration ·13 November 2018
A joint venture of MCR and Building and Land Technology (BLT) has completed a $647.5-million financing across a 5,958-guestroom national portfolio of 53 Marriott and Hilton select-service and extended-stay hotels spanning 15 states and 31 markets.

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