Article by Chris Mumford and Thomas Mielke

2018 Predictions for Human Capital Issues in Hospitality

AETHOS Consulting Group - 15 December 2017
AETHOS Managing Directors Chris Mumford and Thomas Mielke, both based in London, share commentary regarding trends affecting the lodging and cruise sector as well as the restaurant industry, whilst also proving specific market insights for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific region:In the lodging and cruise sector, expect the following trends to shape the industry going forward:There will be a continued breakdown of the 'barriers' between work and life. Mielke believes this will result in more lodging companies developing informal, experience-led hybrid models centred around co-working and co-living (with shared spaces for eating, entertaining/socializing and working out). In other words, "a soft evolution of the harsh revolution we have witnessed in the past few years," says Mielke.There will be an ever-greater divergence of the spectrum - from ultra-high-end-luxury to no thrill back-to-basics concepts. Hotel companies have already been flourishing with the addition of luxury air travel and/or branching-out into the luxury cruise sector, while others have been implementing basic concepts in the motel, budget, and hostel sectors. "This divergence will not result in a considerably widening gap between the 'haves' and the 'have notes,' but instead cause a severe distinction from the 'unrestrained' traveller and the 'minimalist," says MielkeTwo seemingly opposing ideologies and brand concepts will stand out among the rest: Altruism and Hedonism. As a politically, socially and economically 'restless' world continues to trouble travellers, these two concepts will, more markedly, influence business practices and consumer behavior during 2018. Altruistic concepts will center around authenticity, community engagement, and 'giving back' - such as the sustainability-focused 1Hotel brand and Six Senses, or the greater number of 'exploration tours', coupled with 'social tourism', which we are starting to see in the cruise sector, says Mielke. Hedonistic concepts, he says, will centre around self-indulgence and pampering of the mind and body, resulting in a significant growth in the Spa sector, private clinics, and wellness services, whilst also encouraging more lodging and cruise companies to 'go boutique'.In the Food & Beverage sector, AETHOS predicts the following three trends to be points of discussion during 2018:Mainstream trends will break away from the norm: With the increasing popularity of vegetarian, vegan, and lactose-intolerant diets, Mielke believes restaurants will continue to focus on specialty items targeting the mass market, while continuing to incorporate new concepts that centre around health and sustainability. On that last note, he adds that it is probably fair to say that 2018 will be the 'year of the [superfood] avocado'!'Off-premise consumption' and 'going digital' will continue to be embraced by restaurateurs: As the disruptors, such as UberEats, Deliveroo or JustEat, have established themselves in the consumer mind, Mielke says restaurant owners and operators will increasingly join hands with the delivery companies to give rise to increasing convenience for consumers.New competitors enter the market - ones that no one saw coming: With Amazon acquiring Whole Foods, furniture retailer IKEA creating an open-kitchen concept and select clothing retailers, such as H&M, launching in-store food concepts, in addition to delivery companies setting up blind-kitchens, Mielke believes that "the restauranteurs of this world will need to 'buckle-up' and become more creative and innovative in defending their wallet share in 2018."The AETHOS Managing Directors also comment on the broader geographic trends in European, Middle Eastern and Asian regions:EMEA:Brexit will have lasting impacts on the industry and the possibility of a labour government will be a concern for the UK economy, says Mumford. Its effects are also detrimental to the hospitality sector in regard to recruitment and retention rates.Mielke and Mumford agree that Germany will continue to be a key player socio-politically in 2018 whilst Spain has become more relevant - although uncertainty remains regarding Catalonia.Dubai's business levels have been 20% off this year due to regional instability, mainly in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, says Mumford. He says "expect 2018 to be a tough year for the region, but it will start to look up in 2019 ahead of Dubai hosting the World Expo in 2020."Asia Pac:Hotels in key markets such as Japan, London, Paris, Dubai, New York will need to increasingly adapt to the increase in Chinese travellers, Mumford says. This traveller will become even more sophisticated and discerning. Specifically, the cruise sector is readying itself for an influx of Chinese travellers and has already taken concrete actions to 'beef-up' its talent pool that has the know-how and skill set to better cater to this client-base, Mielke adds.We expect to see few large transactions such as HNA's acquisition of stakes or majority interests in the likes of NH, Carlson and Hilton, comments Mumford. Private outbound investment will continue to dominate, especially in markets where high-net worth individuals are driving single asset transactions.As the Asia expert, Mumford further comments saying "Japan in particular will continue to be a target for developers and brands with overseas visitor numbers showing a 20% growth year-on-year, plus the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and Olympics in 2020 in addition to the Abenomics effect domestically.Overall, Mumford believes that Asia remains a management contract-dominated operating environment. Expect to see white label management companies appearing as local operating expertise improves and the brands start to push their franchise offering.

Hotel Budgeting Strategies for 2018

HMG Hospitality Blog - 15 December 2017
The end of the year means extra focus on hotel budgeting strategies for 2018. While the end-product is an estimated financial statement for the upcoming year, the process begins with a marketing plan. Robert Mandelbaum, contributing author at, shares useful insights in his article, “Understand Your Local Market When Making 2018 Budget.”

COMMENTARY: Hoteliers Need To Defend Like-Kind Exchanges

Lodging Magazine - 14 December 2017
Lawmakers are making progress on tax reform, albeit at Congress’ glacially slow pace. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have made an overhaul of the tax code their top legislative priority this fall, along with their deputies who lead the tax-writing committees in both chambers. The hospitality industry may be positioned for even greater growth in the years to come should their efforts succeed. The Republican leaders, along with the Trump administration, aim to cut individual and corporate tax rates, as well as create a new tax bracket for pass-through businesses. This infusion of capital back into the economy will have a major impact.

Investors on Rev Rec Changes: Who Cares?

CFO Magazine - 13 December 2017
Amid all the consternation plaguing companies about getting up to speed on the new revenue recognition rules, there’s one thing they don’t have to worry about: investor reaction to any resulting changes in their financials. Amid all the consternation plaguing companies about getting up to speed on the new revenue recognition rules, there’s one thing they don’t have to worry about: investor reaction to any resulting changes in their financials.
Article by Jim Butler

California Labor & Employment Law Update: Key Changes in 2017 and What's Slated For 2018

JMBM - 13 December 2017
California Labor & Employment Law Update: Key Changes in 2017 and What's Slated For 2018by The JMBM Labor & Employment GroupThe legal landscape for California employers continues to evolve at the state and local level - ranging from prohibitions on inquiries into an applicant's salary and conviction history, additional sexual harassment training requirements, to new immigration obligations. The following is a high-level summary of the most significant changes in state and local labor and employment laws, which go into effect on January 1, 2018, unless otherwise noted.EXPANDING POWERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR STANDARDS (DLSE)DLSE can now independently commence investigations; petition for injunctive relief; and issue citations for suspected discrimination or retaliation based on a wage claim (SB 306). The DLSE has new powers starting January 1, 2018. With SB 306, the DLSE will now be authorized to commence an investigation of an employer, with or without a complaint being filed, when specified retaliation or discrimination is suspected during the course of DSLE investigations. The new law also authorizes the DLSE to petition a superior court for immediate injunctive relief based on a finding of reasonable cause. Such relief can include a court order that the employer reinstate employment or otherwise reverse its alleged retaliatory action against the employee. This is a huge departure from existing law which does not allow for the DLSE to seek this type of relief during an investigation.The new law also authorizes the DLSE to issue citations directing specific relief to persons determined to be responsible for violations. The law establishes review procedures, including procedures for requesting a hearing before a hearing officer, and for a petition for a writ of mandate. The law subjects an employer who willfully refuses to comply with a final order to civil penalties payable to the affected employee. The law also allows employees to seek injunctive relief in court.Contractors can now be directly liable for wage claims against subcontractors (AB 1701).On or after January 1, 2018, a direct contractor which undertakes a contract in the state for "the erection, construction, alteration, or repair of a building, structure, or other work," must assume, and be liable for, specified debt owed to a wage claimant that is incurred by a subcontractor, at any tier. The DLSE is authorized to bring an action to enforce this liability. It authorizes private civil actions to enforce the liability against a direct contractor. The new law does not apply to any work being done by an employee of the state or any political subdivision of the state. It requires a subcontractor, upon request from the direct contractor, to provide specified information regarding the subcontractor's and third party's work on the project and allows the direct to withhold disputed sums upon the subcontractor's failure to provide the requested information.NOTICE REQUIREMENTSHuman trafficking notice requirements extended to hotels, motels and bed & breakfast inns (AB 260 and SB 225).Two new laws which take effect on January 1, 2018 address human trafficking. AB 260 adds hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast inns, not including personal residences, to the list of specified businesses and other establishments required to post a notice with information related to slavery and human trafficking, including information related to specified nonprofit organizations that provide services in support of the elimination of slavery and human trafficking. SB 225 adds to the notice a specified number which a person may text for services and support, and revises the names of the nonprofit organizations listed in the notice. While not specifically addressed to employee issues, the required notice must be posted "in a conspicuous place near the public entrance of the establishment or in another conspicuous location in clear view of the public and employees where similar notices."Employers must specifically provide written notice concerning the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking (AB 2337).Existing law (Labor Code section 230.1) prohibits employers from discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking for taking time off from work to: seek medical attention for resulting injuries; obtain services from a domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center; undergo counseling, or participate in safety planning. Last year, California passed AB 2337, which requires employers to provide written notice to employees about the rights of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. However, employers did not have to comply with this requirements until the Labor Commissioner developed a model notice. In June 2017, the Labor Commissioner posted the model notice. Employers may use the Labor Commissioner's notice, or create their own as long as it is substantially similar in content and clarity. The notice must include the following content:Inform employees that they have the right to take time off to obtain a restraining order/court order, seek medical attention, seek services from a domestic violence shelter, program, or rape crises center, seek counseling, or safety planning.Inform employees that they can use available vacation, personal leave, accrued paid sick leave, or compensatory time off for such purposes, unless they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement which provides different leave uses.Inform employees that they have a right to take time off for these purposes even if they do not have paid leave.Advise employees that they should give advance notice before taking leave. But, if they cannot give advance notice, they will not be disciplined if they provide proof for the absence within a reasonable time. Proof can be a police report, court order, or a doctor's/counselor's note.Inform employees that they can request as a reasonable accommodation that the employer make changes in the workplace to ensure the employees' safety. Advise employees that their accommodation request will be kept confidential.Inform employees that they have a right to be free from retaliation and discrimination and that they cannot be discharged because they are a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; because they asked for leave to get help; or because they asked the employer for an accommodation so they can feel safe at work.Advise employees that they can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner's Office if they believe their rights have been violated.Employers must update their new hire/orientation materials to include either the Labor Commissioner's model notice or their own notice that satisfies the statutory requirements. Note, while employers must provide new hires with a notice of their rights under Section 230.1 (and other employees upon request), employers should consider providing a standard notice to all employees, not just new hires.PROHIBITED INQUIRIES OF JOB APPLICANTSEmployers cannot seek or use job applicants' salary histories as a factor in determining whether to offer a job (AB 168).Add this to the growing list of questions to avoid asking during a job interview: How much do you make in your current job? AB 168 prohibits an employer from seeking salary history information from a job applicant or using salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer a job. An employer also is not allowed, orally or in writing, personally or through an agent, to seek a job applicant's salary history information. Also, the law requires an employer "upon reasonable request" to provide the pay scale for a position to a job applicant. It does not apply to salary history information disclosable to the public under federal or state law.San Francisco mandates additional requirements on the prohibition of job applicants' salary histories (San Francisco's Parity Pay Ordinance.)San Francisco's Parity in Pay Ordinance is similar to AB 168, discussed above. Under the ordinance, an employer may not do any of the following:Ask about current or past compensation in the applicant's current position, or in any prior position (whether with the current employer or a prior employer).Consider an applicant's salary history as a factor in determining what salary to offer an applicant--even if the applicant voluntarily discloses his or her pay without prompting.Refuse to hire, disfavor or retaliate against an applicant for not disclosing pay history.Release the salary history of any current or former employee to an employer or prospective employer without written authorization.The Ordinance allows an employer to ask about the applicant's expectations with respect to salary. For example, it is permissible to ask about unvested equity or deferred compensation or a bonus that an applicant would forfeit or have cancelled if he or she quit a current job. This may be a way for employers to obtain salary information without asking directly for it. The Ordinance becomes operative on July 1, 2018, with penalties of up to $500 beginning on January 1, 2019.Limitations set on an employers' ability to inquire about a job applicant's criminal history (AB 1008).AB 1008 adds Government Code section 12952, which creates a new protected class under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Employers with five or more employees are prohibited from:Inquiring about an applicant's criminal history on a job application or at any time (i.e. during the interview process) before extending a conditional offer of employment.If employers run a conviction background check in connection with an application for employment, it is prohibited from considering, distributing, or disseminating information about (a) an arrest not resulting in a conviction, except as permitted in Labor Code section 432.7, (b) referral to or participation in a pretrial or post-trial diversion program, and (c) convictions that are sealed, dismissed, expunged, or statutorily eradicated.An employer who intends to deny an applicant a position of employment solely or in part because of the applicant's conviction history must first perform an individualized assessment. The assessment requires analysis of various enumerated factors, including whether the applicant's conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job. If the employer decides to deny employment, it must provide the applicant written notification of its decision. The applicant then has the opportunity to respond by providing evidence challenging the accuracy of the conviction history report and/or evidence of rehabilitation or other mitigating circumstances. The employer must consider any information the applicant submits before making a final decision. If the employer's final decision is to deny employment, the employer must provide written notification to the applicant, including information on any additional appeal process and the applicant's right to file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). AB 1008 does not apply to situations where employers (public and private) are required by law to conduct criminal background checks or to restrict employment based on criminal history.Employers should review their job applications, postings, and recruitment procedures to ensure they comply with AB 1008. Employers should also keep written records which demonstrate that they performed the required individual assessments and considered any applicant responses before making final employment decisions. Furthermore, employers need to comply with any related local ordinances, such as the San Francisco and the Los Angeles Fair Chance Ordinance. To the extent a local ordinance provides applicants greater protection, employers must comply with that standard.Los Angeles sets additional prohibitions on criminal history inquiries (Los Angeles Fair Chance Ordinance).Individuals with criminal records may have a better chance of finding a job in Los Angeles under the city's new Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring. Under the Ordinance, a prospective employer is not permitted to ask an applicant questions about criminal history before making a conditional offer of employment - meaning an offer that is conditioned on an assessment of the applicant's criminal history and how it relates to the duties of the job being offered. The meaning of "employment" here is broader than normal, because the law also applies to the retention of independent contractors and unpaid interns. The Ordinance became effective on January 22, 2017. The Ordinance applies to all employers located or doing business in the City of Los Angeles and that employ 10 or more employees.INCREASED EMPLOYEE PROTECTIONSEmployers cannot comply with certain requests from immigration enforcement officers unless a judicial warrant is provided (AB 450).A new law limits how much California employers may accommodate some requests from federal immigration officials. Beginning January 1, 2018, California employers "shall not provide voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to enter any nonpublic areas of a place of labor," unless the immigration enforcement agent provides a judicial warrant. Similarly, employers will not be allowed to "provide voluntary consent to an immigration enforcement agent to access, review, or obtain the employer's employee records" without a warrant, except for I-9 employment eligibility and verification forms and other documents for which a Notice of Inspection has been provided to the employer. Employers must post a notice of any inspections of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms or other employment records conducted by an immigration agency within seventy-two hours of receiving notice of the inspection. Upon reasonable request, the employer must provide a copy of the Notice of Inspection to an affected employee. AB 450 also provides that an employer "shall not reverify the employment eligibility of a current employee at a time or in a manner" not required by federal law. The Labor Commissioner has enforcement authority, and penalties for violations can be up to $10,000.Smaller employers (20+ employees) are now required to provide parental unpaid leave (SB 63).Small employers will need to be ready to give time off to new parents starting January 1, 2018. SB 63 will require California employers with at least twenty employees within a 75-mile radius to provide up to twelve weeks of job-protected unpaid leave to new parents for the purpose of bonding with a newborn child, adopted child, or foster-placed child. SB 63 is similar to the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), which requires employers with fifty or more employees within a 75-mile radius to offer these parental leave protections to new parents. Employers may not "interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any right" provided by the new law. Employees may use accrued vacation pay, paid sick time, other accrued paid time off, or other paid or unpaid time off negotiated with the employer, during the parental leave.Public employers who receive state funds are prohibited from discouraging or deterring public employees from becoming or remaining members of an employee organization (SB 285).Under Government Code section 16645.6, public employers who receive state funds are prohibited from using those funds to deter union organization. SB 285 goes a step further - prohibiting public employers from discouraging or deterring public employees from becoming or remaining members of an employee organization. Notably, this statute applies to all public employers regardless of the source of funds, including employers subject to the MMBA, Dills Act, EERA, HEERA, Trial Court Act, Court Interpreter Act, TEERA, and Section 12302.25 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. The Public Employment Relations Board has jurisdiction over any violations. Since the statute does not define what constitutes to "discourage" or to "deter," public employers must be cautious in their interactions with union members and the information they transmit about union membership. Significantly, SB 285 likely attempts to protect labor unions if the Supreme Court holds that agency fees cannot be imposed on public sector employees in Janus v. AFSCME.Amendment to the Military Veterans Code expands protections for military veterans by prohibiting discrimination in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; violations of the law can result in criminal and civil penalties, and attorneys' fees (AB 1710 and SB 266).AB 1710 and SB 266 amends section 394 of the Military Veterans Code. Existing law prohibits discrimination against service members. These bills expand the scope of the protection for military personnel by prohibiting discrimination in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. The law covers discrimination by individuals and public and private sector employers. Violations of the law result in criminal and civil penalties, including actual damages and reasonable attorney's fees. Given these remedies, employers need to ensure that their recruiters and supervisors are trained on service member anti-discrimination laws.Health care facilities face increased penalties for whistleblower retaliation/discrimination (AB 1102).Existing law (Labor Code section 1278.5) prohibits a health facility from discriminating or retaliating against a patient, employee, medical staff, or any health care worker because that person filed a grievance, complaint, report with the facility, or participated in an investigation or administrative proceeding related to the quality of care, services, or conditions at the facility. A violation of the statute results in a civil penalty of up to $25,000 dollars. Under AB 1102, a person who willfully violates section 1278.5 is also guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $75,000 .California's recognition of nonbinary as a gender could result in new employer requirements (SB 179).Through SB 179, California now recognizes three genders - female, male, and nonbinary. This legislation allows individuals to update their gender on a birth certificate, a driver's license (beginning January 1, 2019), and obtain a court judgment (beginning September 1, 2018) without undergoing clinical treatment. Instead, the individual has to attest, under penalty of perjury, that the request for a change in gender is to confirm the person's legal gender to the person's gender identity and not for fraudulent purposes. While the impact of this legislation is unclear - it may impose new requirements on employers and educational institutions to provide additional restroom and locker room facilities.Anti-harassment training requirements expanded to include gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation (SB 396).FEHA currently requires employers with fifty or more employees to provide at least two hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to all supervisory employees within six months of an individual's assumption of supervisory duties and once every two years thereafter. SB 396 requires covered employers to include training on harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. The training must include practical examples and the trainer must have pertinent knowledge and expertise. SB 396 also requires employers to display DFEH's poster on transgender rights in the workplace.Given that sexual harassment allegations have permeated every industry and have dominated the news cycle - employers must be vigilant in providing anti-harassment training, investigating complaints, and taking prompt corrective action. Employers should review their anti-harassment/anti-discrimination trainings and policies to ensure compliance with SB 396.The Equal Pay Act now applies to both public and private sector employers (AB 46).Existing law prohibits employers from paying workers of one sex/race more than the workers of the opposite sex/race for "substantially similar work," unless the employer can show that any pay gap is justified. AB 46 amends Labor Code section 1197.5 by extending the definition of employer. The Equal Pay Act will now apply to both public and private sector employers. That said, employees still cannot sue public sector employers for penalties under Labor Code section 1199.5.Emeryville requires employers to offer additional work hours to current qualified part-time employees before hiring new employees or using contractors (Emeryville Fair Workweek Ordinance).Emeryville has enacted its Fair Workweek Ordinance which became effective on July 1, 2017. Under the Ordinance, employers must offer additional work hours to current qualified part-time employees (those with fewer than thirty-five hours of work in a calendar week) in writing before hiring new employees or using contractors or staffing agencies. In addition to being qualified to do the work, covered employees are those who perform at least 2 hours of work within the geographic boundaries of the city in a week; and qualify as an employee entitled to minimum wage under the Labor Code. Also, employers must provide new employees with good-faith written estimates of their work hours and schedules. Employers must provide employees with at least two weeks' notice of their actual schedules; notify employees of schedule changes and allow employees to decline schedule changes made without two weeks' notice; pay employees a premium for schedule changes made with less than two weeks' notice; ensure that employees have at least eleven hours off between shifts; and allow employees to request flexible work arrangements without retaliation.San Jose requires employers to offer additional work hours to existing qualified employees before hiring additional employees or subcontractors, and use a transparent and nondiscriminatory process to distribute work hours among existing employees (San Jose Opportunity to Work Ordinance).San Jose has enacted its Opportunity to Work Ordinance which became effective on March 13, 2017. Under the Ordinance, employers must offer additional hours of work to existing employees who (in the employer's good faith and reasonable judgment) have the skills and experience to perform the work before hiring additional employees, subcontractors, temporary services or staffing agencies, and use a transparent and nondiscriminatory process to distribute work hours among existing employees. In addition to being qualified to do the work, covered employees are those who, in a calendar week, perform at least two hours of work for the employer; and who qualify as an employee entitled to the California minimum wage, or is a participant in a Welfare-to-Work Program. A Welfare-to Work Program means the CalWORKS Program, County Adult Assistance Program (CAAP) which includes the Personal Assisted Employment Services (PAES) Program, General Assistance Program and any successor programs that are substantially similar.Please contact us if you would like to discuss any of the issues presented in this Update.JMBM's Labor and Employment attorneys counsel businesses and management on workplace issues, helping to establish policies that address problems and reduce job-related lawsuits. We act quickly to resolve claims and aggressively defend our clients in all federal and state courts, before the Department of Labor, the NLRB, and other federal, state and local agencies, as well as in private arbitration forums. We represent employers in collective bargaining negotiations and arbitration.This Update is provided to our clients, business associates and friends for informational purposes only. The Update included only brief descriptions of the laws at issue. Legal advice should be based on your specific situation and provided by a qualified attorney.

Pending Tax Cut Sends CFO Optimism Soaring

CFO Magazine - 13 December 2017
Business optimism among CFOs in the United States and some other countries has reached record levels, according to the more than 800 CFOs responding to the latest Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook survey. The quarterly survey’s CFO optimism index in the United States increased to 68.6 on a 100-point scale, the highest recording of 2017. Among the CFOs who responded to the late-November-to-early-December survey after the U.S. Senate passed its version of the tax cut bill, optimism spiked to 73, which is the highest U.S. CFO optimism level ever recorded. (The survey, in partnership with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, has been conducted for more than two decades.)

If You Aspire to Be a Great Leader, Be Present - 13 December 2017
Some years ago, we worked with a director of a multinational pharma company who’d been receiving poor grades for engagement and leadership effectiveness. Although he tried to change, nothing seemed to work. As his frustration grew, he started tracking the time he spent with each of his direct reports — and every time he received bad feedback, he pulled out his data and exclaimed, ”But look how much time I spend with everyone!”

The Real Reasons Companies Are So Focused on the Short Term - 13 December 2017
dec17-13-637552554-MirageC MirageC/Getty Images This has been a remarkable year for the markets.  The S&P and the Dow indexes are up 18% and 19%, respectively.  But this run-up isn't based on solid business foundations.  Quarterly profits have only increased 5% since 2012, but investors' valuations of those profits (as measured by earnings per share) has increased 59% over the same period. What's behind the disconnect?  Some argue that profits are stagnant because of short-termism-that decades of focusing on current profits over long-run innovativeness has resulted, now, in companies that are hollowed out. Indeed, a study by Rachelle Sampson and Yuan Shi found that company short-termism is negatively correlated with innovativeness, measured as RQ ('research quotient,' a measure of the return on R&D investments). Investors punish companies with a short-term orientation by applying higher discount rates to them, which increases the cost of capital for those co

OTA Insight Secures $20M in Financing for Platform, Team Growth·Requires Registration - 13 December 2017
OTA Insight has raised $20 million in financing. Eight Roads Ventures led the funding round, with participation from F-Prime Capital Partners and previous investors. The cloud-based data intelligence solutions provider is expected to use the financing to continue its platform growth.

Trump Administration Defers Formal Action in Gulf Carrier Flap

Business Travel News (BTN) - 13 December 2017
The Trump administration will not take punitive action against the UAE and Qatar for alleged Open Skies violations, though it is leaving the door open for such actions down the road, according to published reports. U.S. airline representatives sat this week with State Department officials to discuss claims that Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways each benefit from billions in government subsidies, according to The Hill. The carriers consistently refute those claims. The administration is continuing informal talks with the two Gulf nations rather than opening formal consultations on Open Skies agreements, The Hill indicated.

Priceline and Expedia continue to grow but at what cost?

EyeforTravel - 13 December 2017
Both Priceline and Expedia continued to post some impressive growth numbers in their Q3 results, with double digit rises in gross bookings but these increases appear to come at an ever-increasing cost and concern is rising among investors. EyeforTravel's new reports into both Expedia and Priceline finds that investors are right to be concerned as this is a potential weakness for both companies that empowers potential rivals in the form of the main digital advertising giants Facebook and Google.Both companies saw soaring costs in 2016 continue into 2017 and appear to be trapped in a competitive spiral, focusing on matching increases in the other's marketing spend for fear of falling behind. In 2016, Priceline increased its brand advertising spend by 8% and performance advertising by 27%, whilst Expedia saw selling and marketing costs rise by 29%. Through the first three quarters of 2017, marketing spend by Priceline has grown by 22%. In percentage terms this matches a 22% increase in the broader 'selling and marketing' element of Expedia's costs across the same time frame. For the latter, selling and marketing costs now make up more than 55% of the company's overall costs, whilst Priceline's combined selling and advertising costs make up 70% of overall costs..There can be little doubt that the majority of this spend is heading over to Google, with Priceline appearing to be the more reliant on the search giant currently. Around three quarters of search engine traffic to is generated via paid advertising, as compared to around half for Expedia. This also comes despite Expedia paying less in advertising than Priceline but is nonetheless a concern for both companies as Google continues to relentlessly but quietly ramp up its travel products.Not only are the two facing pressure from each other and the online travel agency market, but increasing pressure from their suppliers as well, as they try to recapture market share through book direct campaigns. Most of the major chains have initiated these alongside a broader consideration of what loyalty means in the industry. Combine this with a more combative regulatory environment in Europe, with wide price parity agreements being eroded, and what they will get is more competing forces for keywords and users' attention across a wider number of search terms.This has caused ripples on Wall Streets, with analysts focusing in on the growing costs and their effect on the bottom line as profit expectations are missed. After Q3 2017 earnings call for both companies, stocks plummeted, falling nearly 16% for Expedia the day following the call on 27th October and 13% for Priceline on 7th November. For Priceline this mimicked a similar stock drop following the Q2 earnings call, highlighting investor concerns.Investor concern is unlikely to dissipate as these two are reaching such gigantic proportions that their growth is likely to slow naturally anyway and there doesn't seem to be a way out of the marketing spend increases on the near horizon, with search engine marketing critical to their business models. Indeed, currently their ability to outbid almost any other player when required and their vast data regarding search term effectiveness currently makes this arena a competitive advantage for both players.Nonetheless, the question remains, at what cost? It will be critical to continue to monitor marketing spend for both over the coming years to see what the limits of sustainability and effectiveness are. As the competition intensifies across the digital travel space and tech giants eye travelTo preview and buy EyeforTravel's Expedia report, click here, or here for the Priceline report. These are part of the Future of the Online Giants series, which will cover Expedia, Priceline, TripAdvisor, Ctrip and Google. Keep a look out through EyeforTravel On Demand for the rest of these reports.

Doing business with the Giant of Africa - 13 December 2017
In our part of the world, people relate quickly to credit card fraud, internet scams, kidnapping of westerners, corruption, and terror attacks from Boko Haram, when someone talks about Nigeria. Governments recommend not to travel to Nigeria if you don’t necessarily have too. It does not sound very inviting. You don’t often hear about the positive side of this country. I will talk further about my experience, and what travel risk mitigation strategies I would recommend to corporates travelling to Nigeria. It is a country with many opportunities, but it is certainly not a place for the faint-hearted.

Tech Upgrade Commands CFO's Focus

CFO Magazine - 12 December 2017
The privately held financial-market utility that settles and clears transactions for all 15 U.S. option exchanges and 3 futures exchanges has a problem: Its technology is woefully outdated. That’s not quite the disaster it may seem. Options Clearing Corp.’s existing, 20-year-old system is “incredibly stable and still manages our processes on a daily basis, well within the [service-level agreements] we’ve set with our clearing members,” says Amy Shelly, OCC’s finance chief.

Highest Achieving 2017 prize-winning Hospitality Financial Management and Revenue Management learners named by HOSPA.

HOSPA - 12 December 2017
The winners are the learners who achieved the highest grades during their studies in Financial Management and Revenue Management with HOSPA on courses completed in February 2017 and August 2017.The HOSPA courses provide the skills and knowledge for those hospitality professionals seeking to excel in their careers in hospitality finance or revenue management.With both introductory and advanced levels available, the modules have been specifically written for the hospitality sector by specialist educators and industry-leaders and reflect the need for learners to be continuing in full-time work whilst studying. The Financial Management programme is studied in three separate stages over 18 months. The Revenue Management programme is offered in three separate levels, each taking five months to complete.The 2017 HOSPA Professional Development Learner Award Winners are as follows:Financial Management prize winners, completed in February 2017 were:Stage 1 - Introduction to Financial Accounting: Monika Hyde, Management Accounts Assistant, Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy, WalesStage 2 - Operational Management Accounting: Natalia Zaremba, Assistant Financial Controller, Renaissance Hotel, ParisStage 3 - Strategic Management Accounting: Matthew Bennett, Financial Controller, The Derbyshire Hotel, Alfreton, DerbyshireFinancial Management prize winners, completed in August 2017 were:Stage 1 - Introduction to Financial Accounting: Emalyn Gretton, formerly Accounts Assistant, Jurys Inns; now at DS Smith Packaging Services Ltd., BristolStage 2 - Operational Management Accounting: Monika Hyde, Management Accounts Assistant, Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy, WalesStage 3 - Strategic Management Accounting: Ketan Bhakta, Finance Graduate Manager, Jurys Inns, BirminghamRevenue Management prize winners, completed in February 2017 were:Level 1: Introduction to Revenue Management:David Clancy, General Manager, Leonardo Edinburgh Capital Hotel, EdinburghLevel 2: Operational Revenue Management: Sam Jennings, Key Market Revenue Manager - South West, Whitbread - Premier Inn, Luton, BedfordshireLevel 3:Strategic Revenue Management: Diane Little, Assistant Cluster Rooms Revenue Manager, Principal Hotels, EdinburghRevenue Management prize winners, completed in August 2017 were:Level 1: Introduction to Revenue Management: Miriam Waldmeyer, Revenue Centre Manager, Royal Lancaster London Hotel, LondonLevel 2: Operational Revenue Management: Henry Rouse, Revenue Manager, Hoseasons, Lowestoft, SuffolkLevel 3: Strategic Revenue Management: Sam Jennings, Key Market Revenue Manager - South West, Whitbread - Premier Inn, Luton, BedfordshireCash prizes and certificates will be presented to the winners at the HOSPA Annual Learner Awards Ceremony, a stand-alone celebration dedicated to their achievements. The event will be held on 25 January 2018 at the Hilton on Park Lane, London, commencing at 2pm. Prior to the Awards Ceremony itself, the afternoon's proceedings will start with a Panel Debate - chaired by Professor Peter Jones MBE, Chairman of the HOSPA Professional Development Committee - discussing the education needs and recruitment of hospitality finance and revenue managers.In addition to the presentations to the award winners already named, the prestigious 'Overall HOSPA Learner of the Year Award Winners 2017' - for the Professional Development programmes in Financial Management and Revenue Management - will be announced at the Ceremony and presented with their special prizes. The two top awards are based on the highest combined course work and examination results, recorded in the 2017 HOSPA Financial Management and Revenue Management courses.The association will also recognise two organisations for their commitment to education in the fields of Revenue Management and Financial Management.Commenting on the HOSPA Annual Learner Awards Ceremony, the Association's Head of Professional Development Debra Adams said: "We are delighted to be returning to the Hilton Park Lane to celebrate the achievements of our highest performing learners on the HOSPA Professional Development Programmes during 2017."Congratulations go to all our learners and prize winners, who have successfully completed each stage of their Financial Management and Revenue Management studies over the last eighteen months. We are very proud of their achievements which have been gained whilst working in demanding and fulfilling roles in the hospitality industry."During 2017, we have been pleased to welcome more and more learners to our Revenue Management courses. A further development to strengthen our commitment to this important function in the hospitality sector has been the release of our updated Revenue Management ebook which provides an invaluable introduction to the world of Revenue Management and how it can be used in the hospitality industry."To attend the HOSPA Annual Learner Awards Ceremony on 25 January, tickets cost PS50 per person. For bookings, email: education@hospa.orgThe deadline date for enrolment for the next intake is 1 March 2018 - for both the Financial Management and Revenue Management programmes. Both courses are available at three levels - Introductory, Operational and Strategic - each at a cost of PS820 (ex VAT). For further information, visit:; or email: .

Beekeeper Crisis Communications White Paper to Help Hotels with Non-Desk Workers Establish Best Practices and Foster Preparedness

Beekeeper - 12 December 2017
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- In an ongoing effort to balance hospitality and security, the hotel and lodging industry is uniquely vulnerable to crisis, and notoriously difficult to regulate. The Las Vegas shooting that occurred on October 1, 2017, is a particularly formidable example of how a lighthearted vacation can quickly turn into a nightmare. Recent hurricanes experienced in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico also had a major impact on the hospitality industry. The same goes for the earthquake that struck Central Mexico in September, and the wildfires that ravaged Northern California in October. This string of events is a mere microcosm of the types of situations that can wreak havoc on any hotel business.To help hotel employees think quickly on their feet in moments of danger or conflict, workforce communication company Beekeeper has released a White Paper designed to help navigate the essential preparation measure hoteliers should engage to ensure cross-organizational readiness in the event of a disaster. "Hotel Crisis Planning and Communications" will explore how internal communications strategies can be optimized by technology. To download the White Paper, which includes tips for accessing vulnerability, mitigating risk, and establishing a hierarchy of communications, click here."The main goal of any hospitality business is to give guests the ultimate experience and make them feel welcome and safe during their stay," said Andrada Paraschiv, Beekeeper Head of Hospitality. "Unfortunately, there are always unpredictable behaviors that can be challenging for hotel employees to manage while upholding their code of hospitality. While hoteliers can't predict the unpredictable, they can have a crisis communications plan in place - especially when emergency communication can be particularly challenging for non-desk workers whose roles do not require or facilitate a constant connection to a traditional email inbox. This disconnection often leaves employees without an easy way to hear organization-wide announcements, coordinate schedule changes, and even get emergency payroll access. During national emergencies, the need for having a reliable, robust, and technologically elastic digital workplace app on board becomes painstakingly obvious."Beekeeper digitizes the non-desk workforce by connecting operational systems and communication channels within one secure, intuitive platform. In a worst-case scenario, an internal communications platform will enable employees to react appropriately and professionally, rather than being taken by surprise.In the event of a natural disaster, violent crime or even a non-violent threat such as fraud or information hacking, knowing how to effectively communicate with first responders is imperative, as well as maintaining a calm and collected attitude when fielding questions from out-of-town guests. This White Paper will help hotels establish a crisis preparation process that will quickly become a best practice.
Article by David Lund

Hospitality Financial Leadership - A White Paper - Part 1

The Hotel Financial Coach - 12 December 2017
The project goal had five measurable elements. It was to get the managers and leaders of this hotel to complete their monthly departmental financial forecasts, track their results throughout the month, adjust their spending on labor and supplies according to business volumes, review their month-end statements for accuracy and finally write their departmental monthly hotel management commentary.In other words, get the core management team to do these tasks each month while improving forecasts and the hotel's financial results.Part 1 of 3Early in 2017, I was contacted by a hotel company president who read one of my articles in a hotel association newsletter. He asked me a little bit about how I worked with hotels and then he asked if I would come to his offices and meet with his people. To which I agreed. I went to his office the following week and the receptionist showed me to a well-appointed boardroom with a big table, beautiful art, and 10 chairs. I waited what I thought was a long time, probably no more than 10 minutes.The company president, the CEO, and VP of Human Resources joined me. We exchanged pleasantries, and then they asked me to explain what I do and how I could help them. I started by telling them my story of how I was a failure at a previous role as the controller of a large hotel some 10 years earlier. Not always a strong start but it usually gets people's attention. I explained that the reason I was failing was because I could not get the other managers to give me their monthly forecasts and as a result, I was communicating financial information that was wrong. I then explained that I discovered the cure. The cure to getting my fellow department heads to do their forecasts was to educate them on the hotel financials. I explained that the education was delivered in the form of a workshop that showed the leaders what the profit and loss statement was all about and why we needed their input.Then I explained the results of the work I did in the hotel and that in a very short period of time we totally turned things around and how the managers really liked the training--how they responded and the great results we created.The CEO asked, "In your opinion, who is ultimately responsible for the finances of the hotel?"To which I replied, "The most senior person, usually the GM."To which he replied, "So, not the financial person?""No," I said, "The financial person has a big role to play but the GM must set the tone and lead the team in all matters including the financial piece."With this 5000-pound rhinoceros on the table, my audience had a moment to huddle and the CEO then said to the president, "Well, that's it then, the GM must be the one to lead the charge and they are ultimately accountable for the financial results," to which the president eagerly agreed.I explained to the group the importance of having the senior leadership of the hotel firmly believe that the money is equally as important as guest service and colleague engagement. This conviction needs to be part of the hotel's culture. Leaders in their hotels need to see this, have a system to use and the proper support. Not that service takes a back seat to profit. Equal, that is the key!With my story told and their revelation out the president asked me when I could start and how much for my six-month program. We shook hands and I was told they would contact me shortly with the details of which hotel would be my first project.The revelation we danced around that day is all too common in our industry. Owners, brands, and executive teams are often confused and misaligned when it comes to putting the accountability for the financial results in the right place.I received an email the following week and the note contained the name of the GM, his hotel, and phone number. I called him, and we agreed that I would come and meet with him and his Director of Finance.We got together in a meeting room and I requested a whiteboard. I explained the same story of my failure and finding the cure. I then drew a chart with fictitious names down the left side with five columns: F, T, A, R, W across the top. Forecast, Track, Adjust, Review, Write. I then said to the gentlemen, I was pretty sure that on that day their department managers' report card probably looked something like that whiteboard--blank and empty.Next, I said, "I will work with your managers, educating them with the workshops and coaching them 1-1 to get them to willingly do their monthly forecasts, track their results, adjust their spending, review their statements and write their commentaries."To which I replied, "Just a guess."The GM was very curious about why a six-month program."Why so long?" he asked. "I get this question a lot", I said. I explained that in reality the project really never ends."The financial discipline in your hotel will never be completely mastered," I replied."It's just like guest service and colleague engagement, the job is never done. We use six months because that's how long it takes to educate your team with the workshops, coaching them individually so we can remove what's holding them back, practice for your leaders on their financials, time for your leaders to see your committed to this, time for your leaders to see that it is not going away, and finally time for your team to get their financial act together."In a hotel, each month equals one financial practice. Like anything in business this takes some practice and, if we are willing to stick with it, we will get results! The GM and DoF looked at each other and again smiled. With this out and on the table, I asked them both if they were committed to this plan. I also strongly cautioned them that if they were not committed to walk away! The GM's and DoF's roles in the process are just as important as mine.I explained this important aspect to both and told them we would be coordinating a "triangulated fire" throughout the venture. The three equal forces that need to be utilized throughout the project: My workshops and coaching, their commitment and support with this project from the top with their leaders and, the third piece, the element of time. Me, you and time will win this.The great thing about the monthly financial cycle in business is we get to start over each month. Take what we learned and fix what didn't work. Every month we are improving and that is what we are playing for.With that out, and clearly understood they made the commitment to the project.The first workshop was critical. I coached the GM and DoF on how to invite their team to the party we were throwing. Leaders will sit back and assess the situation and they can smell a rat a mile away. A genuine invitation to learn and grow with financials is what we created. A steadfast commitment to their personal success and prosperity.In the opening workshop, we were joined by three members of the corporate team. You know how the saying goes, "We are from corporate and we're here to help." In this case, they were a huge help. They provided the leadership their support for the project through their participation in the workshop exercises and debriefs. When we wrapped up the opening workshop everyone knew what we were working on, why and, most importantly, they all had the opportunity to verbalize any concerns they had and express their commitment to the project's goals, F TAR W.Another really important element in this workshop setting is the way we present the project. It is like an invitation to the hottest party of the year and you are invited. We make a big deal out of the participants, their learning and most importantly their contribution. AKA - you make the difference. No mention of corporate mandates, financial Armageddon or any other rat-like tactics.If you would like a copy of any of the following send me an email at david@hotelfinancialcoach.comHotel Financial Policy Manual - Inventory of "Sections"Hotel Financial Coach "Services Sheet"F&B Productivity SpreadsheetRooms Productivity SpreadsheetFinancial Leadership Recipe F TAR WFlow Thru Cheat Sheet

Big Data Doesn't Require Big Dollars

CFO Magazine - 12 December 2017
By now every CFO understands the value of big data. Big data allows organizations to obtain valuable insights to close sales, reduce operating expenses, avert cyber attacks, and asses business tactics.The goal is to process massive amounts of information to make more informed, rapid decisions. Hindering that objective is the accelerating growth of data. As data volume continually expands, the cost to extract value from this storehouse of business intelligence expands with it. The Internet of Things (IoT) alone is expected to produce 600 zettabytes (ZB) of data by 2020, up from 145 ZB in 2015. One ZB is equivalent to the amount of data stored in 250 billion DVDs, or about one billion terabytes.

It's been a wild year for travel. What's ahead for 2018? |

- 12 December 2017
Travel bans. Shootings. Viral passenger videos.No one will forget the past year in travel. How could they? But what does it all mean for your 2018 trips?"These are interesting times," says Patricia Schultz, author of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die."The year's watershed moments included a series of controversial travel bans, a mass shooting in one of America's top tourist destinations and the expulsion of an airline passenger captured on video.At the same time, several largely unnoticed events, mostly happening behind the scenes, promise to exert an equally powerful influence on your travel plans next year. Bottom line: Travelers will need to be more vigilant in 2018 than ever.

What hoteliers need to know about proposed tax-reform legislation

Hotel Management - 12 December 2017
Tax reform legislation is making its way through Congress and could be signed into law by the president before the year’s end. These new tax laws could hold subtle changes for commercial real estate, according to a special report from Marcus & Millichap.

What Workers and Companies Should Know About the Republican Tax Bills - 11 December 2017
The House and Senate have passed somewhat different versions of major legislation to restructure the federal income tax. A House-Senate conference committee still needs to reconcile the two bills, with the goal of finishing before Christmas. Both bills would significantly overhaul the corporate income tax, increase the federal budget deficit, and disproportionately benefit upper-income taxpayers. And the bills include many provisions that are poorly understood and may have unintended consequences.

Using Tax Savings to Pare Supply Costs?

CFO Magazine - 11 December 2017
The economic impact that will follow President Trump’s presumed approval of the tax bill that congressional Republicans are working to finalize will surely generate a diverse collection of winners and losers. Some of them might not be immediately obvious, however. For example, one company hoping to cash in is C2FO, which provides an online working capital marketplace. Through the marketplace, companies pay suppliers earlier than the contractually agreed date in exchange for discounts.

Bordering on the ridiculous Featured Articles - 11 December 2017
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is not an island if the definition of that in sovereign terms is a land mass without borders with neighboring countries. The U.K. does have a land border, the 310 or so miles between Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland, and it is this border that might create a potential huge headache for hoteliers. This border has been the scene of much strife over the last 50 years or so, most notably during the sectarian violence. Most commentators say a return to that scenario is very unlikely. Everyone is happy those days are over.

HOSPA elects new Chairmen for its Hospitality Finance, Revenue Management and IT Community Committees

HOSPA - 11 December 2017
David Nicolson, Vice President Finance - Europe, Jumeirah Group, is the newly elected Chair of the HOSPA Finance Community Committee. Former Deputy Chair of the HOSPA Finance Community Committee, David has taken over from Paul Nisbett, Finance Director Valor Hospitality Europe, who has stepped down from the voluntary role following three productive years at the helm.The new Deputy Chair of the HOSPA Finance Community Committee is Dr. Roberto Amodei, Area Director of Finance UK & Ireland, Hyatt Hotels Corporation.Commenting on his appointment, Nicolson said: "This is a fantastic opportunity to work with fellow members of the HOSPA Finance Community. I look forward to working closely with them and sharing best practice with our HOSPA members."Ally Dombey-Northfield, Director, Revenue by Design, has been elected the new Chair of HOSPA's Revenue Management Community Committee. She replaces Michael Heyward, Managing Director, Heyward Hospitality Solutions, who has done much to increase the active involvement of the committee for the good of the Association and the industry over the past two years. The new Deputy Chair of the HOSPA Revenue Management Community Committee is Ben Chapman, Commercial Director, Strand Palace Hotel, London.Commenting on her election, Ally Dombey-Northfield said: "The aim is to continue the excellent progress made with the HOSPA Revenue Management educational program, and to further develop the involvement of the revenue management community outside of London. We have made some inroads in engaging an extended community over the past year through events in Birmingham, and previously Manchester; now is the time to build upon those efforts."David Derbyshire - Director IT Service Delivery, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Field Technology Services, Hilton Worldwide - is the newly elected Chair of the HOSPA IT Community Committee. He succeeds Bryan Steele, Managing Director of Jireh-Tek, who has relinquished the voluntary role after six years of dedicated service and commitment.Commenting on his appointment, David Derbyshire said: "I am really excited to be taking a lead role on the HOSPA IT Committee, in partnership with our new Deputy Chair of the HOSPA IT Community Committee David Pryde, Head of IT, Strand Palace Hotel, London."During my tenure as Chair, I would like our HOSPA IT Community to widen its partnership with the Association's Finance and Revenue Management Communities, as well as broaden the scope of HOSPA's industry connections to a greater section of the hospitality industry. This would go beyond hotels and technology providers, to other industry segments such as foodservice and recreation. I'd also like our HOSPA IT Committee to further develop the IT qualification pathway."HOSPA Chief Executive Jane Pendlebury said: "We are delighted and greatly honoured that three such respected leaders within their respective HOSPA disciplines as David Nicolson, Ally Dombey-Northfield and David Derbyshire, have seen their way to taking on these vitally important responsibilities. They bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge that will prove invaluable in keeping HOSPA members abreast of the latest trends and issues in hospitality finance, revenue management and IT. Also a big welcome to our three new HOSPA committee deputy chairs."Words cannot adequately express our gratitude to Paul Nisbett, Michael Heyward and Bryan Steele for their commitment to HOSPA and the immense contributions they've respectively made to the success of HOSPA's Finance, Revenue Management and IT Communities. Indeed, Bryan was our very first IT Community Committee Chair following the rebranding of BAHA as HOSPA in 2011, and the creation of our core IT, Finance and Revenue Management Communities."I am also very pleased to announce that Michael Heyward is staying on the HOSPA Board in the newly created role of HOSPA Ambassador for the UK regions outside London."

Rutledge steers Oxford to 'contrarian' hotel platform Featured Articles - 8 December 2017
Oxford Capital’s mission when it comes to hotels is simple: optimize the value of the real estate. Through its wholly owned affiliate Oxford Hotels & Resorts, the company specifically looks for value-enhancing opportunities including, but not confined to, mixed-use projects. John Rutledge, founder, president and CEO of the Chicago-based company, said the philosophy has led to a strong portfolio of hotels along the East Coast from Boston to Florida and the upper Midwest. It is also entering Southern California. “We’ll take advantage of spot market opportunities to acquire, to develop, to reposition, to manage and to grow in a disciplined manner,” Rutledge said. “We’ve got a significant portfolio of existing assets, we have six or eight projects under development or redevelopment at any given time, and then we’re constantly trolling for new opportunities. … We very much have a national approach.”

RLJ Lodging Trust Expands Relationship with Interstate Hotels and Resorts

Hotel Online - 7 December 2017
RLJ Lodging Trust (the “Company”) (NYSE: RLJ) today announced that it has expanded its relationship with Interstate Hotels and Resorts (“Interstate”) in connection with White Lodging’s sale of management contracts to Interstate. The transaction is expected to close on or about January 31, 2018. The terms of the original White Lodging contracts will remain in effect.

HNA Group Contemplating Asset Sales as Debt Crisis Grows - Hotels - 7 December 2017
HNA Group Co., one of China’s most indebted companies, is facing increasing difficulties raising funds as scrutiny mounts over the acquisitive conglomerate’s surging borrowing costs. In the past week, S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings have voiced concerns about at least four companies because of their ties with HNA. Separately, group flagship Hainan Airlines Holding Co. canceled a bond sale, another unit scrapped a share offering and HNA subsidiaries have been paying some of their highest borrowing costs ever.


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