• The Art of Pitching: Is it Overrated - or Essential?

    Pitching… that thing we force notoriously introverted geeks to do for funding. The main idea is that an entrepreneur — unless his name is Elon Musk or Tony Stark — has limited resources and needs the financial support of pockets that are substantially deeper than his own.

  • What to Expect: New Changes Coming to Lease Accounting Standards

    The upcoming revision to lease accounting standards was one of the topics discussed by the HFTP Hotel Advisory Council in their February 2018 meeting. The surprising conclusion from the council: The hotel industry in general is not prepared for the changes, and there is no viable off-the-shelf software that any of the members were aware of that would assist with the accounting for the new standard.

  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Hospitality Organization Flow Charts

    This document is a set of flow charts illustrating data flow scenarios, involved parties providing hospitality services, steps of the guest journey and more. Four scenarios are presented: independent hotel, independent hotel with third party agreement, branded hotel and branded hotel with independent control.

  • Job Description Template: Club Accounting Positions

    The HFTP Americas Research Center has developed example job descriptions for club accounting positions. The process involved reviewing sample job descriptions, and compiling the information into standardized job descriptions.

Pricing power persists in Sri Lankan hotel industry

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·10h
The Sri Lankan hotel industry reported mixed results in 2017 as the country saw record room demand and average daily rate but a decline in occupancy as new supply growth accelerated. According to the STR census database, the island had 146 hotels comprising 14,800 rooms, which offered just under 5.2 million roomnights available in 2017. More than 3.3 million of those were sold. STR now reports on close to 50% of the available rooms, and 2017 occupancy was 64.8% with the average cost of a room at 16,891 Sri Lankan rupees ($107.71). (STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.) Sri Lanka has been very attractive to developers over the last few years, and supply growth has been steadily accelerating since 2014. At the same time, demand growth has slowed. The chart below shows the interplay between supply and demand comparisons since 2015.

Visas, F&B, services propel Saudi hotel expansion

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·11h
Big change is coming to hotels in the two Holy Cities of Saudi Arabia, Makkah and Medina—including F&B, visas, pilgrim distribution channels and higher quality—but Western firms will remain largely bystanders at least in the short term. Saudi Arabia’s Holy Cities of Makkah and Medina are experiencing huge growth and expanding their offerings, but do not expect the door to open wide in regards to foreign direct investment, at least in the short term, sources said. Speaking during a session at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference titled “Holy Cities,” panelists said both pilgrims and other guests are having their distinct needs catered to directly by hotels and new developments.

Not motivated by inspirational speakers? Sit next to me

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·11h
I don’t get inspired by motivational speakers. I get nothing from most Ted Talks. When my local weather forecaster Instagrams photos of nature with “Hang in there”-type motivational quotes, I laugh. Inspirational business culture or self-help books? I have a million, and I use them to prop windows open. As you can imagine, I see a lot of so-called motivational and inspirational speakers as I cover hotel industry conferences. I’ve seen the “Catch Me If You Can” guy probably three times. I’ve seen both “Mr. Wonderful” from Shark Tank and Gary Vee twice. Nobody has stirred my inspiration muscles one tiny bit. You get the picture. And then I saw Manoj Bhargava speak, and I don’t ever need to see another keynote speaker again as long as I live, as far as I’m concerned. He’s that good.

Analysts foresee stronger-than-expected Q1 for most

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·12h
Hilton and Pebblebrook’s pre-released results set the tone for the first-quarter earnings season. Hotel industry analysts anticipate better-than-expected performance across the board and are hoping to hear chatter about Pebblebrook’s offer to acquire LaSalle. Pebblebrook Hotel Trust and Hilton pre-released earnings results, which were better than expected, according to analysts, who said the two companies should set the tone for other real estate investment trusts and C-Corps this earnings season. Analysts agreed fourth-quarter results came out pretty conservative, but they are expecting to hear more optimism and positive updates to guidance ranges on first-quarter earnings calls.

Whitbread to split Premier Inn, coffee operations

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·25 April 2018
During a call with analysts to discuss the company’s full-year 2017-2018 earnings, which saw ADR increase 1.4%, Whitbread PLC executives outlined the 24-month process to split its Premier Inn/Hub by Premier Inn division from its Costa Coffee division.

AHLA head foresees union battles over regulations

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·25 April 2018
Sexual harassment is a hot topic across the U.S. right now, and American Hotel & Lodging Association President and CEO Katherine Lugar believes union organizers are seizing on that to push a largely unrelated agenda in various cities. While speaking at the Spring 2018 meeting of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association, Lugar said a national push for safety notification devices for hotel employees—particularly housekeepers—is turning into a regulatory push in several large markets. But at the same time, union groups are using that to push for other issues that “look a lot like what you’d see in a collective bargaining agreement” like employee retention rules and health care improvements. She said in some markets like Chicago, AHLA has been successful in “ripping out the extraneous stuff” and specifically focusing on mandates for the “notification devices” and things like sexual harassment training. She said that city’s regulations are a win for the lobbying group.

IHG's Barr, Radisson's Younes talk Middle East hotels

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·25 April 2018
Executives from InterContinental Hotels Group and Radisson Hotel Group emphasized their optimism for development in the Middle East, but said brand promise, simplicity and focus on owners will divide the successful from the unsuccessful. United Arab Emirates—Leaders from InterContinental Hotels Group and the newly renamed Radisson Hotel Group see the Middle East as critical for the success of their companies. “We’ve been here for four decades and have cemented relationships,” said Keith Barr, CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group. “It is one of our priority markets. It is a phenomenally important region, dynamic (and) growing.”

Global hotel pulse: Middle East/Africa news

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·25 April 2018
Each week, Hotel News Now features a news roundup from a different global region. Today’s compilation focuses on Middle East/Africa. HNN covers AHICThe Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, one of the largest hotel conferences of the year in the Middle East region, recently took place in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, and Hotel News Now’s Terence Baker was there for all the festivities. Included in this year’s coverage is a bit of back-and-forth between frustrated hotel owners and the hotel brands. Baker notes that owners are hoping to see some more bang for their buck.

Revenue management and marketing: A powerhouse duo

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·25 April 2018
In the current competitive climate of our industry, the presence of revenue management and marketing in any thoughtful hotel strategy has become absolutely critical. One of the greatest challenges faced by hoteliers today is the congestion that continues to build within their markets. New hotel supply pours into cities more quickly than demand can rise to meet it, and our assets now have to fight harder than ever to capture a fraction of the business. It’s not enough just to be the newest, trendiest hotel on the block anymore. Today’s consumers expect an exceptional level of service and thoughtful amenities at the bare minimum. So, how do you stand out from the crowd and continue to excel in overcrowded marketplaces? The rate and demand strategy brought to the table by revenue management, in tandem with the creative edge offered by marketing, can lend the competitive advantage that makes all the difference between success and failure.

5 ways US tax reform can benefit hotel investors

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·25 April 2018
The U.S. has seen a pretty seismic shift in tax policy with the recent adoption of a major tax-reform bill. Much of the attention related to the bill has revolved around in a significant reduction in the corporate tax rate. But, according to some tax-law experts, real estate investors will realize some of the biggest benefits of the changes. During a recent webinar hosted by the brokerage firm Marcus & Millichap,* panelists outlined some of the major ways the changes will benefit commercial real estate investors, including those with hotels.

Legal experts share hotel industry's ongoing challenges

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·24 April 2018
While there are a number of major legal challenges affecting the United States hotel industry that attract much of the attention, there are plenty of smaller, but still important, issues that hoteliers face. Hospitality attorneys shared their insights into a few of these topics at the recent Hospitality Law Conference.

Lower costs and higher margins drive extended stay

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·24 April 2018
Revenue from extended-stay hotels has more than quadrupled since 1998, according to Mark Skinner, partner with The Highland Group, who cited the number to introduce a panel at the Serviced Apartment Summit Americas titled “Why are extended-stay hotels doing so well and where do they go from here?” The success of the segment continued in 2017 with a 12.8% rate increase, the fastest since 2009, Skinner said. He also said the number of extended-stay rooms is growing four times as fast as regular hotel rooms in response to accelerating demand. He called that acceleration “contrary to what’s typical at this stage of the cycle.” Today, 8% of total U.S. hotel rooms are extended-stay, and they represent $12.4 billion in room revenue in 2017. On the question of comparative return on investment, Jon Benowitz, VP of capital strategy and investments at Chartwell Hospitality, said the extended-stay segment performs better than traditional hotels because it can take advantage of the “ups,” but also when the economy is down these properties can focus on long-term business.

Examining natural disaster impact on construction

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·24 April 2018
After a natural disaster hits, recovery efforts be a long road. Labor and materials become scarce, while labor and material costs skyrocket. Here’s a look at the impacts and how to navigate the process. Looking back on last year’s construction cycle, one thing that seems to get overlooked is the impact of natural disasters. From wildfires to hurricanes, 2017 had its fair share of disasters to overcome. During the 2017 Lodging Conference, a question came from the audience to three brand representatives about the impact of the recent hurricanes on hotel construction. The disparity in the answers given was shocking. One person said there was little to no impact. Another said construction pricing rose 20%. A third said it was a relatively minor impact only in select areas. Their range of answers created another question: Could they all be right? Examining the impacts, it would appear that there is significant bearing directly and indirectly on construction labor and certain construction materials following a natural disaster.

How hoteliers can better control costs during projects

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·24 April 2018
There’s a great deal of planning that goes into a new-build hotel or renovation project, especially when it comes to managing the budgets. However, it doesn’t have to be as daunting a task if the proper steps are taken. Much of it comes down to the education process, experts said, as well as having open communication with all parties involved to pick the most cost-effective route. Education from the startBob Kraemer, principal and co-founder of Kraemer Design Group, said educating developers—whether they’re new or seasoned—is a standard part of the architecture and interior design firm’s process when working on a project.

Brand leaders see benefits of closer ties with owners

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·23 April 2018
As supply enters the Middle East to potentially put even more strain on average daily rate, brand leaders in the region are prepared to do their part to boost performance, increase direct bookings and appease owner frustration that the only concern is pipeline. Simon Vincent, president for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Hilton, was quick to defend the brand chains, which on this panel also included AccorHotels, InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott International. “It all works best when our goals are aligned. Sixty-five percent of our pipeline investors are repeat investors, and that does not sound like an unhappy camper,” Vincent said.

Red Roof eyes midscale soft-brand niche

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·23 April 2018
Red Roof is in growth mode, brand leaders said, with the company’s new soft brand poised to carve out an untapped niche in the midscale segment. Red Roof recently signed a second property—The State House Inn in Springfield, Illinois—to its Red Collection. The property, franchised by Packard Hospitality Management, will open under Red Roof’s soft brand this fall. The first property signed to the Red Collection, The St. Clair Hotel in downtown Chicago, will open later in 2018. “There are a lot of soft brands out there, and a lot of brands talk about being in the midscale and upper-midscale segments and I’m not sure they are—they tend to set price points a little higher,” said Red Roof President Andrew Alexander during a break at the recent AAHOA conference. “We’re very comfortable in the midscale and upper-midscale segments. We know how to drive occupancy and rate in that segment. It’s attractive to a lot of franchisees.”

Take your hotel bathroom beyond what's expected

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·23 April 2018
The global wellness economy currently represents an ever-increasing $3.7-trillion industry. While spas, fitness centers and the occasional yoga studio remain the centerpiece of wellness within most hotels and resorts, there is an ever-increasing trend towards “zenifying” the spaces beyond these dedicated wellness walls. According to a study from a reputation management company, guests are unimpressed with the lackluster hotel bathrooms of the past and ready for spaces that ignite a certain sense of relaxation, spaciousness and tranquility. While some hotels are opting to remove bathtubs in their entirety in an effort to save space and money, others are responding to these cries for comfort and calm by giving the guest bathroom the royal treatment. The hotel bathroom was once thought of as nothing more than a basic necessity in the hotel suite, an oversight on the part of both designers and operators. Not anymore. Nowadays, hotels pride themselves on bathrooms that exude luxury—integrating breathtaking vistas, designer fixtures and accessories, on-call therapeutic services and indoor/outdoor hydrothermal experiences. Rather than being designed with a purely functional intent, luxuriously curated bathrooms are inspiring travelers to slow down, soak, cleanse and relax in the hotel room itself. Not only does this bode well for a superior guest experience, it translates into more time spent by guests on-property, which opens the door for additional spend and the cultivation of a greater connection to your team and offerings. It is time to imagine the possibilities of taking the hotel bathroom beyond the expected.

Fiennes' scaling of huge heights inspire AHIC hoteliers

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·23 April 2018
The 2018 Arabian Hotel Investment Conference ended with the most memorable keynote speech I have ever heard. Get ready for some rousing adventures courtesy of the world’s greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, that will keep you out past dinnertime. Regular attendees at hotel investment conferences have become accustomed to several days of deals, meetings and panel discussions that wraps up with a keynote address delivered by a speaker from outside of the industry. Professional athletes and personalities connected with the politics of the day are often favorites to end the festivities, but at this year’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, delegates had a real treat when the guest speaker was Sir Ranulph Fiennes, often referred to as the “world’s greatest living explorer.”

Arabian hotel owners frustrated with brand disconnects

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·23 April 2018
Owners and operators want stronger business alignment and partnerships, but expressed concerns over the fixation on supply and brand development, which they say comes at the cost of bottom-line performance. Owners in Arabic and Gulf Cooperation Council markets voiced frustrations during a panel at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference over a perceived lack of investment by brands into boosting revenue and overcoming bumps along the way. The comments by CEOs of hotel ownership companies were spurred by the questioning style of moderator Stephen Sackur, who presents one of the BBC’s flagship political programs, “HARDTalk.”

Omni spirit strong in new Louisville GM

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·20 April 2018
The recently opened Omni Louisville added more than 600 guestrooms to the hotel market in Louisville, Kentucky, which is something GM Scott Stuckey said will be a big benefit, given the city’s exploding tourism around the Bourbon Trail. Managing a large-scale, new-build hotel project through construction and opening is a tough challenge in its own right, but for Omni Louisville GM Scott Stuckey, that challenge had a whole new dimension to it. Three weeks before he moved to Louisville to take the GM position of the hotel, which was only about halfway through construction at that point, Stuckey suffered a stroke, losing the ability to speak and a lot of movement abilities.

AmericInn leader shares bumps, big breaks for brand

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·20 April 2018
Going from a small, regional brand to a national player under Wyndham Hotel Group so far has been a boon for AmericInn, said SVP of Brand Operations Nasir Raja, who added he sees greater things to come. “No breakthrough happens without some bumps,” but the transition of the AmericInn brand to Wyndham Hotel Group has been relatively smooth, according to Nasir Raja, SVP of brand operations at AmericInn. Within a few weeks’ time, the brand “not only was plugged into a brand-new (central reservations system) and the very complicated distribution system … we also changed 200 (property-management systems),” he said. “We had a brand new website … we had to train people, to get them comfortable (with the new systems). … And we did it without any systematic disruption. Zero.”

5 focus areas for drawing Chinese guests to your hotel

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·20 April 2018
For Wyndham Hotel Group leaders in the Europe, Asia/Pacific, Middle East/Africa regions who spoke at the recent 2018 Global Brand Conference, attracting the 138 million outbound Chinese tourists was top of mind. LAS VEGAS—Chinese tourists are embarking in droves to see the world, and hoteliers looking to bring those guests to their hotels will need to focus on five things, according to Wyndham Hotel Group’s brand leader in China. Click here to read about the “first-mover” philosophy to development by Wyndham’s global leadership team.

Two sides of the hotel security equation

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·20 April 2018
Recently, as we were planning and executing two conferences at two different hotels, we encountered such totally different perspectives on conference attendee safety that we wondered if we were in a reality TV show. Here’s a look at how that script might play out: Hotel safety protocolsScene IExterior: London, England. Upscale major branded hotel. End of the year.Interior: A conference is being set up. Most of the conference is ready to go; we just need to email the hotel and request they present some safety and security measures for our conference attendees at the beginning of the conference. The hotel owner agrees but suggests sending this information to the guests prior to arriving for the conference. We rapidly agree and are shown some of the most thorough policies and procedures we have ever seen. The attendees greatly appreciate having this information pre-conference.

Are you cool with storing other people's luggage?

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·20 April 2018
A recent trip to Washington, D.C., reminded me that it’s a hassle to haul luggage around, but you sometimes have little alternative. I’m sure there are people who would pay hotels to make this problem go away. Luggage storage is a pretty common function at hotels. Any of us regular business travelers are familiar with that annoying gray area between check-out time on the last day of a trip and the time your work responsibilities actually end and you can catch an Uber back to the airport, luggage in tow. Most often the solution to that problem is just to drop your bags with some helpful hotel employee, who will safely stow your bags until you’re ready to go, at no cost other than a tip (please, tip!).

How the Marriott-Starwood deal almost didn't happen

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·19 April 2018
Jeff Holdaway, SVP and associate general counsel at Marriott International, shares some behind-the-scenes details about Marriott’s acquisition and integration of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

May I have a word?

hotelnewsnow.com Featured Articles·19 April 2018
In an anthology titled “Wind Sprints,” essayist Joseph Epstein relates his desire to leave behind a word or two of his own invention before departing the planet. Not just any portmanteau mind you, but one that is adopted for general use in contemporary culture. To him, creating a neologism that entered into widespread use and warrants inclusion in a dictionary is a sure way to assure immortality. Well, Professor Epstein, I feel your pain. I could use a little immortality myself. Sadly, creating a couple good neologisms may be the only way left for me to achieve it. Anyway, here is my first—and perhaps only—shot at neologistic immortality. To increase my chances, I’m upping the number and focusing on the hospitality industry, where I may get a sympathy boost from colleagues.

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