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  • 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.

  • Letter from the HFTP Global President: Budgeting and Planning are Integral to Success

    HITEC Houston, which attracted HFTP’s largest event attendance in history, may now be behind us but the year is far from over. At the end of this month on July 28 is the new Club Forum in Sarasota, Florida USA.

  • HITEC Special: Revenue Strategy: Not Just a Fancy New Name for Revenue Management

    By Cindy Estis Green. A strategic view of revenue calls for proactive business mix planning and decision-making around deployed resources, well beyond reacting to what comes over the transom. Excerpt from the 2018 HITEC Bytes Special Report.

Ares Real Estate Sells Its Stake in Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center for $270 Million

Hotel Online·17 September 2018
September 17, 2018--Ares Management, L.P. (NYSE: ARES) announced today that funds managed by its Real Estate Group have agreed to the sale of its investment in the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center, a 1,500-room hotel and convention center under construction in Aurora, Colorado.

Steigenberger Hotels AG increases quality control of franchise partners

Deutsche Hospitality ·13 September 2018
According to information provided today by the Egyptian authorities, the circumstances concerning the tragic death of two British guests at the franchise Hotel Aqua Magic in Hurghada have been clarified. These results are based on a statement by the public chief prosecutor Nabil Sadek made on Wednesday."We are all deeply saddened and concerned by what has taken place at a Steigenberger franchise hotel in Hurghada," said Thomas Willms, CEO of Steigenberger Hotels AG. "Our thoughts are with the family members of the deceased couple. We offer them our heartfelt condolences in this difficult situation.""Wherever you see the Steigenberger brand, it is our commitment that uncompromised quality and safety are given top priority, irrespective of ownership or contractual structures. The findings of the autopsy published today do not match the stringent quality and safety standards that apply to all Steigenberger Hotels."Steigenberger Hotels AG has even increased measurements and quality checks that are aimed to prevent such a tragic event from being repeated. These actions are in addition to the constant investigations and quality checks which Steigenberger does in all hotels. The guidelines and safety specifications for all franchise hotels will be reviewed and updated where necessary. We will assure that the employees will receive even more detailed awareness training regarding possible risks and will attend appropriate courses for this purpose."We will continue to analyze the situation on site on an ongoing basis, and additional measures will be put in place as and when required", says Mr. Willms. "Since we haven't seen the full report of the prosecutor yet and considering the fact that controls and examinations at Hotel Aqua Magic are still ongoing, obviously we cannot confirm that the family was infected through food consumed on the hotel premises.""I will take personal charge of monitoring and ensuring that all measures are implemented," Mr. Willms went on. "We owe this to the family members, who are suffering unimaginable sorrow. We also owe the same to all our guests who place their trust in us on a daily basis. And we owe it to our employees.""All Steigenberger Hotels have to be safe. This is an area in which I am not prepared to make any compromises. We are in intensive discussions about our future relationship with our operating partners at the Hotel Aqua Magic and we urge definitely the absolute need of transparent results of all internal investigations."

Jail time for review fraudsters: TripAdvisor heralds landmark legal ruling in the fight against paid review fraud

TripAdvisor ·12 September 2018
In one of the first legal cases of its kind, the Criminal Court of Lecce ruled that writing fake reviews using a false identity is criminal conduct under Italian criminal law. The owner of PromoSalento, which sold fake review packages to hospitality businesses in Italy, was sentenced to nine months in prison and ordered to pay approximately 8,000 Euros in costs and damages.Paid review fraud - when companies or individuals 'sell' fake reviews to business owners - is a violation of the law in many jurisdictions, but this is one of the first cases of enforcement resulting in a criminal conviction.TripAdvisor supported the prosecution of PromoSalento as a civil claimant by sharing evidence from its extensive in-house fraud investigations and providing support from its Italian legal counsel. Review fraud is something TripAdvisor takes extremely seriously, employing advanced tracking technology and a dedicated team of investigators to catch paid review companies and prevent them from operating on the site. More information on TripAdvisor's in-house investigation into PromoSalento can be found here.TripAdvisor welcomes the opportunity to work with enforcement authorities, including the UK Competition and Markets Authority and the US Federal Trade Commission, to share information and support their efforts to tackle online fake reviews.Brad Young, VP, Associate General Counsel, TripAdvisor, said: "We see this as a landmark ruling for the Internet. Writing fake reviews has always been fraud, but this is the first time we've seen someone sent to jail as a result.""We invest a lot in fraud prevention and we're successful at tackling it - since 2015, we've put a stop to the activity of more than 60 different paid review companies worldwide. However, we can only do so much alone, which is why we're eager to collaborate with regulators and law enforcement authorities to support their prosecutions.""Online reviews play a major role in tourism and consumer purchasing decisions, but it's important everyone plays by the rules," said Mr Pascal Lamy, Chairman, World Committee on Tourism Ethics, UNWTO. "Fake reviews clearly contravene the World Committee on Tourism Ethics guidelines, which we published last year to guide the responsible use of ratings and reviews on digital platforms. The recommendations were developed in collaboration with TripAdvisor, Minube and Yelp and we know that industry collaboration has an important role to play in tackling review fraud."The global travel community is a vital partner in the fight against paid review fraud and evidence shared by business owners approached by paid review companies is particularly valuable. Anyone approached or contacted by companies or individuals offering fake reviews should not engage with them but share that information with TripAdvisor directly at paidreviews@tripadvisor.com. All reports made to our Content Integrity team will be investigated and any information, no matter how minor, can help.TripAdvisor has recently launched a new online information resource where people can learn more about how the company moderates reviews and protects its content. New articles will be added regularly addressing popular topics such as how TripAdvisor moderates reviews, or determines whether a review is biased. The site also features a behind-the-scenes series profiling the vital work of our review fraud investigators, with new investigation cases studies added regularly.

GuestTek Interactive Entertainment Files Patent Infringement Lawsuit Against Nomadix, Inc.

Hotel Online·10 September 2018
GuestTek Interactive Entertainment Ltd., an innovative leader in providing technology solutions for the hospitality industry, announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Nomadix, Inc. for infringement of multiple U.S. patents by, among other things, selling and offering for sale certain Nomadix Access Gateways employing various versions of the Nomadix Service Engine. The complaint, which was filed in the United States District Court for Delaware, seeks a permanent injunction, as well as unspecified damages. GuestTek also asks for a determination that Nomadix’s infringement was willful and that GuestTek be awarded treble damages as a consequence.

Marriott San Antonio Northwest hotel sold at foreclosure auction for $18M

Hotel Online· 7 September 2018
The Marriott San Antonio Northwest hotel that overlooks the intersection of Interstate 10 and Loop 410 was sold at foreclosure auction earlier this week, four years after Los Angeles company Laurus Corp. bought it and announced ambitious renovation plans.

LaSalle Agrees to Merge With Pebblebrook in a $5.2 Billion Deal

Lodging Magazine· 6 September 2018
After months of negotiations, Pebblebrook Hotel Trust and LaSalle Hotel Properties today jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Pebblebrook will acquire 100 percent of LaSalle’s outstanding common shares. LaSalle has terminated its previously announced merger agreement with affiliates of The Blackstone Group following receipt of a waiver of Blackstone’s four-business-day period during which it could have proposed amendments to the terms of the Blackstone-LaSalle Agreement. LaSalle has canceled its special meeting of LaSalle shareholders previously scheduled for September 6, 2018 relating to the Blackstone-LaSalle Agreement.

DOL Schedules Listening Sessions on Overtime Rule

CMAA Legislative Report Blog· 4 September 2018
The US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has announced that in the upcoming weeks, it will hold public listening sessions to gather views on the Overtime Rule. The Department plans to update the Overtime Rule, and is interested in hearing the views and ideas of participants on possible revisions to the regulations.

Thorofare Capital Funds $16 Million Bridge Loan to Refinance Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel in Silver Spring, MD

Hotel Online·28 August 2018
Thorofare Capital (Thorofare), through its bridge lending platform, has provided an affiliate of Integrated Capital LLC with a $16 million short-term senior loan for the refinance of the Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel in the Washington D.C. metro area submarket of Silver Spring, MD.

Buenos Aires Rolls Out Tax Incentives to Build and Renovate Hotels in the City

Hotel Online·27 August 2018
Buenos Aires’ government announced this week plans to implement a new bill that will offer tax incentives to the city’s hospitality industry in an effort to expand offerings and accommodate the projected tourism growth. The bill will benefit hoteliers who build new properties or undertake renovations or substantial expansions to current hotels.

Budgeting for 2019? Follow the Supply and the Economy

CBRE Hotels ·22 August 2018
New hotel rooms coming onto the U.S. market shouldn't be a concern for established hotel operators because demand will continue to exceed moderating new-supply levels through 2019, according to CBRE Hotels' Americas Research's recently released September 2018 Hotel Horizons forecast report.CBRE Hotels Research forecasts that supply will peak at a 2.0 percent gain in 2018 and then stabilize at the long-run average of 1.9 percent for the next two years. Further, the number of projects entering all phases of the development pipeline is declining."On a broad national basis, the supply increases have been surpassed by lodging accommodation demand growth for the past eight years, and this trend is forecast to continue through 2019," said R. Mark Woodworth, senior managing director of CBRE Hotels' Americas Research. "However, when you look at the projected 2019 performance of the 60 major U.S. markets in our Hotel Horizons universe, you can clearly see the impact of new lodging supply at the local level."For 2019, CBRE is forecasting a very slight (0.02 percent) increase in the nation's occupancy level. Conversely, occupancy is forecast to decline in 47 of the 60 Horizons markets covered by CBRE. A primary difference among markets gaining occupancy and those losing it: anticipated levels of new supply. The 47 markets forecast to register declines in occupancy in 2019 will see an average 3.8 percent gain in supply from new rooms. The 13 anticipated to gain occupancy will see only 2.5 percent supply growth. "Not only does the change in supply affect the outlook for local market occupancy levels, but it impacts hoteliers pricing power, as well," Woodworth said, explaining that supply growth often leads to shrinking gains in pricing. For 2019, the 47 markets forecast to experience a decline in occupancy are projected to achieve an increase in average daily rate (ADR) of 2.1 percent. The ADR gain is expected to be larger - 2.5 percent - for the 13 markets forecast to see occupancy increases next year.Combining the expected changes in occupancy and ADR, the 2019 forecast RevPAR growth for the 47 occupancy declining markets is 1.2 percent, well short of the 2.9 percent RevPAR increase forecast for the 13 others.The ADR ParadoxWhile the trajectory of occupancy levels is pointing downward for the majority of markets, the occupancy levels still are forecast to be at, or near, all-time record highs. Unfortunately, despite the lofty occupancy levels, the changes in ADR for both the nation, as well as the 60 Horizons markets, are forecast to be below their respective long-run averages in 2019. "Economic theory would suggest that eight years of demand growth, leading to four consecutive years of record occupancy levels, should provide significant pricing leverage for hotel operators," said John B. (Jack) Corgel, Ph.D., professor of real estate at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and senior advisor to CBRE Hotels' Americas Research. "Unfortunately, this has proven to be a paradox for hoteliers as our forecasts call for ADR growth levels to remain below the 3.0 percent long-run average for the foreseeable future."By definition, a paradox is contradictory or hard to explain, and that has been the case with the limited ADR growth. We have analyzed a variety of factors that appear to have impaired growth in ADR to varying degrees, but no single issue stands out as the dominant culprit. Once again, depending on the market, it could be any combination of supply growth, short-term rentals and other forces that encourage hotel managers to favor higher occupancies over higher room rates," Corgel said. "Further, given the continued rise in profits the past few years, we are examining the traditional notion that profit growth is higher when the mix of ADR and occupancy in the RevPAR calculation is overweighed in ADR."The Economy"The correlation between the health of the economy and the performance of the lodging industry has long been established. In fact, it is the positive outlook for the nation's economy in 2019 that explains our baseline forecast for continued growth in U.S. lodging demand," Woodworth said. "However, like any forecast, there is the potential for actual outcomes to vary from projections. Accordingly, we provide our clients with multiple lodging forecasts based on five different economic forecast scenarios."CBRE's baseline national economic forecast results in a projected1.9 percent increase in lodging demand, along with a 2.6 percent gain in ADR for 2019. Under CBRE's 'downside' economic scenario, the demand forecast changes to a decline of 0.6 percent and an ADR drop of 0.3 percent. However, should the economy improve beyond expectations, lodging demand could rise by 3.8 percent, with a 5.9 percent jump in ADR. "Some of the changes in our 60 Horizons market lodging forecasts vary to an even greater extent when you apply the local alternative economic scenarios," Corgel noted.Think Local"Now more than ever, it is important for owners and operators to understand their local hotel market conditions and economies when preparing their 2019 budgets. It is easy to be enthusiastically mesmerized by the positive outlook for the nationwide lodging market. However, don't be caught off guard by not understanding what is happening in your neighborhood. It is very evident that local economic conditions, as well as changes to the local lodging supply, are going to significantly impact the performance of U.S. hotels in 2019," Woodworth concluded.The September 2018 edition of Hotel Horizons for the U.S. lodging industry and 60 major markets can be purchased by visiting: https://pip.cbrehotels.comCBRE Hotels is a specialized advisory group within CBRE providing capital markets, consulting, investment sales, research and valuation services to companies in the hotel sector. CBRE Hotels is comprised of more than 385 dedicated hospitality professionals located in 60 offices across the globe.

Huazhu buys 71% stake in Blossom Hill, Ctrip records $10m offline daily sales and more

4hoteliers.com·22 August 2018
Huazhu acquired more than 71% shares of Blossom Hill for RMB 463 million, OYO signed 400 hotels and 25,000 rooms in China last month alone and travel service firm KLOOK raised $200 million.

Paramount Lodging Advisors Launches Subsidiary, Paramount Capital Advisors

Hotel Online·21 August 2018
Paramount Lodging Advisors (PLA) is pleased to announce the launch of Paramount Capital Advisors (PCA). PCA expands Paramount’s reach and expertise into the Capital Markets arena. PCA provides strategic advisory in debt financing and equity placements for institutional and individual real estate investors in the hospitality sector.

Hospitality Financial Leadership: Who Inspired You?

Hotel Online·20 August 2018
Who inspired you – Who was the one person in your career you would have done anything for? Be you for a moment and re-live the experience you had when your career really took off. That place in your past that had you really growing and learning your craft at a rapid rate. You had someone in your world that was an inspiration, a bright light to follow. Some would call this person a mentor or a guide or adviser or a guru. This person took it upon themselves to help you find your way. And how exactly did they do this, what was their method or system to help you?

InnSuites Hospitality Trust Enters Agreement to Sell Its IBC Subsidiary, IBC Hotels

Hotel Online·17 August 2018
On August 15, 2018, InnSuites Hospitality Trust (NYSE American: IHT), through InnSuites Hotels, Inc., entered into an agreement to profitably sell its wholly-owned subsidiary, IBC Hotels, LLC (“IBC”) to a wholly-owned subsidiary of OBASA Capital Investments, Inc., an independent third-party purchaser. The sale was completed, with funds being received by IHT, on August 16, 2018. The sale price and terms were not disclosed.

Cape Carolyn Buys Embassy Suites Philadelphia Valley Forge

Lodging Magazine·15 August 2018
The Plasencia Group, a privately-owned hospitality investment advisory firm, this week announced the sale of the 229-room Embassy Suites Philadelphia Valley Forge, located in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The firm represented Valley Forge Investment Corporation, a private firm based in the Philadelphia area, in the sale of the all-suite hotel. Cape Carolyn, LLC, an Irving, Texas-based family office acquired the asset.

Hospitality Financial Leadership: Why Your Average Joe Should Never Use an OTA - And... Why He Will Never Stop Using Them!

Hotel Online·13 August 2018
With two large shortcomings I can’t see why the average person who has a basic understanding of how the travel world works would ever use an online travel agency. In making this statement it occurs to me that—obviously—most people don’t know the basics. If they did know the two things I’m going to talk about here, the OTA world would be dead on its feet.

AHA welcomes ATO crackdown on short-term rental income

hotelmanagement.com.au·13 August 2018
Australian taxpayers either inadvertently or maliciously neglecting to accurately declare taxable income through listing vacant properties or rooms on Airbnb will be under the microscope as part of a newly launched crackdown by the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Belmond Announces Review of Strategic Alternatives to Enhance Shareholder Value

Belmond ·10 August 2018
Belmond Ltd. (NYSE: BEL), owners, part-owners or managers of 46 luxury hotel, restaurant, train and river cruise properties, which operate in 24 countries, today announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a comprehensive review of strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value.Belmond's iconic properties include Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Belmond Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxford, Belmond Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara, and the storied '21' Club restaurant in New York."The Board is committed to pursuing a path that is in the best interests of all Belmond shareholders. Accordingly, we are conducting a robust review of the full range of strategic, operational and financial alternatives available to the Company, including a possible sale," said Roland Hernandez, Chairman of the Board of Directors. "We have made meaningful progress toward our long-term strategic goals, including growing earnings, increasing brand awareness, and expanding our global footprint. We believe that now is the right time to conduct a strategic review process in order to enhance value for shareholders, given Belmond's truly exceptional and unique collection of iconic owned properties and strong fundamentals in our markets around the world."No assurances can be given regarding the outcome or timing of the review process. The Company does not intend to make any further public comment regarding the review until it has been completed or the Company determines that disclosure is required or beneficial.The Board has engaged Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC as financial advisors and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP as legal advisor to assist in its review.

Two years after sale to HNA, Radisson changing hands again

Hotel Online·10 August 2018
Chinese hospitality and travel group Jin Jiang International Holdings Co. has agreed to buy Radisson Hospitality Inc., the Minnetonka-based company known for its Radisson hotels, from fellow Chinese conglomerate HNA Tourism Group.

Belmond Ltd considering sale as part of comprehensive company review

hotelmanagement.com.au·10 August 2018
Luxury travel brand Belmond Ltd says it hasn't ruled out a company sale as part of a strategic review to boost shareholder returns.
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Fremantle's Esplanade Hotel now on the market

hotelmanagement.com.au· 3 August 2018
An iconic building in the seaside town of Fremantle will soon be with new owners after CBRE was engaged by Primewest to offload the Esplanade Hotel, around 45 minutes south of Perth. The landmark edifice began as Fremantle’s first pub in 1897 and is one of the most popular and well-known hotels in Western Australia. It sits across the road from an expansive waterfront park in the centre of the historic colonial township rich with Australian convict history.
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IHT Enters Agreement to Sell InnSuites Yuma Hotel and Suites Best Western Hotel to Palm Springs Inn for $16.25 Million

Hotel Online· 2 August 2018
Innsuites Hospitality Trust (NYSE American: IHT) has entered into an agreement to sell its Yuma Hospitality Property for $16,250,000 resulting in a significant gain. Yuma Hospitality Properties LLLP (“Yuma”), a subsidiary of the IHT, entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement (the “PSA”) to sell its InnSuites Yuma Hotel and Suites Best Western Hotel property together with certain furniture, fixtures, equipment, operating supplies and other ancillary items pertaining to the daily operations with an estimated net book value of approximately $4.75 million.
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Meriton fined millions for misleading customers through TripAdvisor

hotelmanagement.com.au·31 July 2018
The Federal Court of Australia has fined Meriton Serviced Apartments for manipulating guest reviews on TripAdvisor.
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Paramount Lodging Advisors (PLA) Sells the Four Points by Sheraton & Banquet Center Sacramento International Airport

Hotel Online·27 July 2018
Paramount Lodging Advisors has successfully sold the 100-room Four Points by Sheraton & Banquet Center Sacramento International Airport. The PLA team members representing this sale were Senior Managing Director, Scott Griemsmann and Associate Subu Thiagarajan.
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TAA calls for greater government action on AirBnB regulation

hotelmanagement.com.au·26 July 2018
TAA chairman Peter Tudehope has urged state politicians to maintain its attention on growing the sector and regulating the short-term rentals industry.
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Sonnenblick-Eichner Company Arranges $50,000,000 of First Mortgage Financing for Hotel Theodore, Seattle, Washington on Behalf of Provenance Hotels

Hotel Online·25 July 2018
Sonnenblick-Eichner Company announced today that it has arranged $50,000,000 of interim first mortgage financing to refinance Hotel Theodore, a 20-story, 153-room, full-service, luxury boutique hotel located at the corner of 7th Avenue and Pine Street, in the heart of downtown Seattle, Washington, one block west of the Washington State Convention Center.

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