Location Lures

CFO Magazine - 6 November 2017
There seems to be no limit these days to what U.S. states and cities will do to lure businesses to their communities. Incentives recently dangled in front of companies include the $3 billion in tax breaks — amounting to $15,000 to $19,000 per job annually — that Wisconsin’s governor has offered Foxconn to build a flat-screen plant in the Badger State. Suitors competing to be the host of a $5 billion second headquarters for Amazon have created elaborate videos, enlisted the help of CEOs of other major companies, and of course, offered huge tax incentives to attract the attention of the e-commerce giant.

Banking Survey: A Question of Trust

CFO Magazine - 6 November 2017
When one of an industry’s largest, reputable providers is found to have deceived — indeed, scammed — its customers, the whole industry suffers. Commercial banking has had character issues in the wake of the financial crisis, but in 2017 the issue of trust arose once more with the Wells Fargo fake account scandal. The bank’s salespeople opened as many as 3.5 million fake bank and credit card accounts, slapping customers with unnecessary fees. The scandal, which goes back years, aroused skepticism about banks and whether they could be trusted: once again, a financial institution had showed disdain for those it purported to serve.

Tax Reform, As It Was

CFO Magazine - 6 November 2017
In discussions of the likelihood that federal tax reform will be enacted this year or in 2018, it’s often pointed out that it has been 31 years since the last reform effort became law. While the Tax Reform Act of 1986 is viewed by some as a starting point for this year’s effort, the times have changed considerably. What do you recall about the 1986 act?

The tension between fraud prevention and user experience in the travel industry

Tnooz - 6 November 2017
This is a viewpoint from Thomas Helldorff, VP of airlines and travel at Worldpay. There is tension in every sector of ecommerce between the friction-free, one-click-style purchase experience and the important requirements of fraud prevention. This is particularly exacerbated in the travel industry. Why? Travel is perhaps unique in that it is a high risk industry – high average transaction value, low margins and little time for manual review – but also a sector where service is key. The sector is notably competitive, so a great consumer experience is a big differentiator. In the face to face environment this means good service – online this means a smooth and friction-free user journey, including the payment process.

How HNW Investors Can Compete with Deep-Pocketed Foreign and Institutional Players

National Real Estate Investor (NREI) - 6 November 2017
As foreign and institutional investors jockey for U.S. commercial real estate assets, experts offer this guidance to high-net-worth (HNW) investors and family offices that might be feeling a bit like bystanders: be a contrarian. Taking that advice to heart, many HNW investors and family offices are hunting for assets in secondary and tertiary markets, rather than in super-competitive “gateway” cities.

Hyatt offloads assets to drive focus toward fee-based earnings

Hotel Management - 3 November 2017
Back in July, during the company's second-quarter earnings call, Hyatt Hotels Corp. President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian said that the company "fully expect[s] to be a net seller of assets for the year." The expectation was met, and recent sales have earned Hyatt enough money that the company now plans to continue offloading assets as a way of driving revenue in 2018 and beyond. To accelerate a shift toward fee-based earnings, Hoplamazian said during this week's Q3 earnings call, Hyatt now plans to supplement its asset recycling program with a targeted reduction in its owned real estate portfolio that is expected to generate approximately $1.5 billion in gross cash proceeds over the next three years.

Trump's Promised Tax Overhaul Bends Toward Business Benefits

National Real Estate Investor (NREI) - 3 November 2017
President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans billed their tax overhaul for months as a benefit primarily for the middle class, but what they delivered Thursday was designed more to favor large corporations and some closely held businesses.

Thinking Thin

CFO Magazine - 3 November 2017
The idea of lean started with Sakichi Toyoda, a Japanese inventor and industrialist who pioneered the idea of “autonomation,” otherwise known as “intelligent automation” or “automation with a human touch,” according to Wikipedia.

Hyatt to sell $1.5b in assets, signaling strategy shift Featured Articles - 3 November 2017
In a shift from prior long-term strategy, Hyatt Hotels Corporation officials have announced plans to sell off $1.5 billion in owned hotels over the course of three years to focus more on the company’s fee-based management and franchising operations. Speaking during the company’s third-quarter earnings call with analysts, President and CEO Mark Hoplamazian said Hyatt is opting for a more “asset-light” strategy, which he believes will “unlock shareholder value.” He said many of the assets the company will look to sell are “not fairly valued by investors.” “The growth in our fee business will continue to drive a shift in the composition of our earnings to a more compelling financial profile with less volatility, capital responsibilities and higher returns over time,” he said.

AHLA's 'Search Smarter' Campaign Teaches Consumers About Fraudulent Booking Practices

Lodging Magazine - 3 November 2017
The hotel industry has been a pioneer as the digital landscape has evolved over the decades, becoming one of the first industries to move the entirety of its product offerings to the online marketplace. Our direct-to-hotel mobile apps and websites are incredibly dynamic and innovative, enhancing the guest experience from the start of the booking process and throughout their visit as well as after they leave the property. Indeed, online travel bookings are a big business, and hotel and lodging businesses today make up 15 percent of all online commerce on the U.S. internet.

Travel Tip: New Rules for Driver's Licenses at Airports

Peter Greenberg Worldwide - 3 November 2017
If you’re like most U.S. travelers going through airport security, you show what you think is a government-issued ID—your driver’s license.

CIOs, Stop Supporting "The Business"

- 3 November 2017
Is this a call for a global IT strike? No, this is about the specific use of the words “the business.” Saying that IT supports the business is suggesting that IT is not part of the business, but an ancillary area that provides support when necessary. This is definitely no longer the case.

Resort fees back in the spotlight due to Marriott, Wyndham lawsuits

Hotel Management - 2 November 2017
Today’s travelers thrive on comparison shopping, and a $1 difference in rate is often enough to swing bookings in a different direction. Hotels are well aware of this, which is why some have taken to charging incremental fees for additional amenities. The spa, the gym, the business center — hotel guests pay for these amenities, even if they don’t use them. The most common fee of all is the “resort fee,” known equally for its ubiquity and ambiguity. Fees like these are a sore spot for some travelers, and consumer groups have been known to periodically take a swing at these fees in hopes they will go away for good. Three years ago they came close, and a new spate of lawsuits is rekindling the debate over whether or not these fees need to be added directly to room rates.

Brazil Ridesharing Battle Heats Up With New Restrictions Likely

- 2 November 2017
Thousands of drivers from Uber and cabbies faced off in Brazil’s capital Tuesday as the Senate considered imposing new regulations that the ride-sharing app said would sink its business in its second-largest market worldwide.

Oversight Democrats Sue Agency Overseeing Trump Hotel Lease

National Real Estate Investor (NREI) - 2 November 2017
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are preparing to sue the head of the government agency that oversees the lease for the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., for allegedly refusing to hand over documents, according to a copy of the complaint.

Enemy Cyber Campaigns Target Private Sector

CFO Magazine - 2 November 2017
To say that the planning of the D-Day invasion by U.S., British, and other Allied forces was a complex endeavor would be an understatement, to say the least. Male Soldier Staring Out Of BunkerA U.S. army pamphlet on the Normandy invasion sketches the results of the planning succinctly: “A great invasion force stood off the Normandy coast of France as dawn broke on 6 June 1944: 9 battleships, 23 cruisers, 104 destroyers, and 71 large landing craft of various descriptions as well as troop transports, mine sweepers, and merchantmen — in all, nearly 5,000 ships of every type, the largest armada ever assembled.”

Hilton Must Pay $700,000 for Two of Its Credit Card Data Breaches - Hotels - 2 November 2017
Hotel operator Hilton will pay $700,000 to settle an investigation into two separate data breaches that exposed more than 350,000 credit card numbers. The New York attorney general, who conducted an investigation along with his counterpart in Vermont, said Tuesday that one breach began in November 2014 and another in April 2015 but Hilton didn’t tell consumers until November 2015.

Securing a hotel loan requires organization, experimentation

Hotel Management - 1 November 2017
No matter your plan for that dream project you’re looking to create, you’re not going to get anything done without a loan. These days, lenders are getting a little bit stingier with their loans for reasons explained below. But to get the money you need for that next project, there are things you can do to ensure the odds are in your favor. Here’s what the experts say you should do to make yourself look good to those lending institutions.

Bahrain Restricts Travel From Qatar Making Blockade Even Tighter - Destinations - 1 November 2017
Bahrain now requires Qatari nationals and residents to obtain a visa prior to arrival, the latest move in the ongoing diplomatic rift between Qatar and its neighbors.

Resurgent France attracts domestic players

Hotel Management - 31 October 2017
Foncière des Régions is merging its two hotel vehicles to create a portfolio of 55,000 rooms under management and €4.3 billion of assets.  Groupe du Louvre has signed an agreement for a “significant majority” in Hôtels & Preference, as France’s Macron bounce spills over into the country’s operators and investors, steering it out of the doldrums. FDM Management and Foncière des Murs will combine to create a new vehicle with 39 percent of its portfolio in France, 34 percent in Germany and the balance in Spain, Belgium, Netherlands and Portugal. Income will be split 45 percent in fixed rents, 24 percent in variable rents and 31 percent in operating properties. 

Hotel asset management unique among real estate classes Featured Articles - 31 October 2017
Asset management clearly doesn’t exist only within the hotel industry, but the discipline has a unique set of challenges with hotels compared to other kinds of real estate. In a series of interviews with hotel asset-management experts, sources unanimously told Hotel News Now the operational complexity and the day-to-day variability in performance makes hotels considerably different than office, multifamily or other forms of real estate. “Hotels are really an operating business as well as being a piece of real estate,” said Rob Kline, CEO and co-founder of the Chartres Lodging Group. “And when you think about the operating business, the income generated and value created or lost is somewhat fragile, much more fragile than with an office building with longer-term leases. In a hotel, a lease is a single night.”

Bridge loans can help to fund PIPs, conversions

Hotel Management - 31 October 2017
While paying for a property improvement plan or conversion out of pocket is one option, it may not be the best one for every hotel. When out-of-pocket funds are used, it leaves less room to invest your cash in other areas. Additionally, if the hotel has a recourse loan, you have to continue to guarantee that loan.

Article: Most People Have a Mobile Banking App, but Do They Use It?

- 31 October 2017
The adoption of mobile banking apps is moving steadily ahead, according to new data from customer experience management firm Market Force Information. The company’s August 2017 poll of US internet users revealed that nearly 80% of respondents had downloaded their primary bank’s mobile app.

Loews Hotels Is Taking a Contrarian Approach With Its Asset-Heavy Strategy - Hotels - 30 October 2017
In an increasingly competitive hotel landscape marked by consolidation, Loews Hotels is hoping to stand out from the rest by doing things differently from its peers. The New York-based hotel company, part of the larger Loews Corporation, isn’t following in the footsteps of larger competitors when it comes to pursuing an asset-light strategy, something companies like Marriott, Hilton, Red Lion Hotels Corporation, and Wyndham have made the cornerstone of their business strategies.

Deal Dynamics Featured Articles - 30 October 2017
There are deals left to be made, and time still for new construction, according to hotel owners and lenders. The U.S. hotel industry faces a number of challenges and a great deal of uncertainty ahead, but those involved believe it’s not time to pack it in just yet. The industry has set new records over the past few years for revenue-per-available-room growth, the number of transactions and dollar volume. And while 2017 doesn’t quite stack up with years past, experts say performance remains positive and the fundamentals are good. Owners and developers pursuing new deals or projects are adapting to the new normal in lending. Lenders, though more cautious following the Great Recession, still see the hotel industry as a viable space for their money.

How brands play into the deals equation Featured Articles - 30 October 2017
A crucial part of any decision to buy or build a new hotel is what brand it will be and what options that opens up for the developers and owners. During the recent Hotel News Now Deals Roundtable, a group of hotel owners, lenders and brokers spoke about the importance of a hotel brand when it comes to gaining lenders’ approval and what that means for owners who are looking for an acquisition or construction project. Hotels that can be reflagged are the best hotels to sell, CBRE Hotels SVP Nate Sahn said, because they will get interest from the buying community. There’s more opportunity when moving a hotel up a brand, he said, and hotels that lose flags or are “down-branded” create trickier deals.


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