COVID-19: 197M industry jobs at stake | Vegas re-opens at 50% occupancy

WTTC: Restrictions put 197 million industry jobs at risk 

More than 197 million jobs could be lost in the global travel and tourism sector if barriers to global travel, such as blanket anti-travel advisories and quarantine measures, remain in place, according to new research from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). The figure comes from WTTC economic modeling, which looks at the impact faced by the travel and tourism sector amid local and global travel restrictions as a result of COVID-19. In the worst-case scenario, where restrictions were lifted after the summer, the impact would be more significant, putting a total of 197.5 million jobs at risk. This represents an alarming 96% rise from the most recent 100.8 million jobs WTTC had previously estimated to be under threat from the coronavirus pandemic.

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Vegas resorts at 50% occupancy reopening weekend

Las Vegas resorts had about a 50% occupancy last weekend with their reopening, and some local casinos had gaming revenue that rivaled a weekend in June 2019 with stronger historic foot traffic compared with the Strip, according to analysis from Deutsche Bank Securities. However, the report stressed, that shouldn’t be viewed as a recovery from the COVID-19 shutdown. Strip resorts benefited from limited properties being open — a dynamic that will change with more re-openings. Neighborhood properties benefited from pent-up demand that will taper off because of the economy, the report also said. 

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How long until ‘no vacancy’ for U.S. hotels?

Research from McKinsey suggests that U.S. recovery to pre-COVID-19 levels could take until 2023 or later. Investors are providing similar views of hotel companies’ prospects, as seen in the underperformance of U.S. lodging real estate investment trusts. Like many industries, hospitality will also see both subtle and substantial shifts in the post-pandemic era. Some are already apparent today.

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Trump’s Scottish golf resorts get tax relief

Scottish golf courses owned by U.S. President Donald Trump’s businesses stand to benefit from more than a million dollars of taxpayer money, as part of a coronavirus relief program run by the Scottish government. The financial relief is aimed at helping the country’s tourism and leisure industries hurt by the economic downturn from the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump Organization owns a 45-hole golf resort in Turnberry, a famed course on Scotland’s west coast, and Trump International Scotland, a smaller course and hotel north of Aberdeenshire.

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Cancun, Los Cabos reopen to tourists in June

The Mexican state of Quintana Roo — home to popular vacation spots like Cancun, Tulum and Riviera Maya — and Pacific Coast resort city Los Cabos will reopen to tourists this month, joining Greece and Iceland as some of the earliest destinations to publicly invite back travelers this summer. But the few dozen tourists who showed up at the 41 hotels that have partly reopened are a mere symbolic trickle compared to the 23 million that crowded the coast last year, bringing about US$15 billion to the local economy. For Quintana Roo and Los Cabos, hotels will only be allowed to reach 30% of capacity to avoid crowding. Higher capacity will be allowed later with some hotels hoping to reach 50% of capacity in July. Before the pandemic, occupancy rates of 85% were not uncommon.

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Consumers looking to book in next three months: Report

Expedia Group and BVA BDRC Research both released new data and consumer insights to support travel providers as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19, pointing to travelers’ overall intent to begin traveling again. Further supporting this intent, Expedia Group search data has been climbing steadily over the past month in both volume and YOY comparison. According to the survey from BVA BDRC, 40% of consumers plan to book an accommodation within the next three months and 25% plan to do so within the next month.

According to the data: 

•   More than 50% of survey respondents are prioritizing cleanliness for both vacation rentals and hotels, indicating the cleanliness will be top of mind for travelers

•   Expedia Group search data shows a nine-point increase in the number of searches for 2-star hotels, with 3-, 4- and 5-star hotel searches down

•   BDRC consumer findings indicate a 57% increase of intent to use an OTA to book a trip, with 73% saying their reasoning is to get the best nightly rate, further showing a rise in price consciousness

•   BDRC found that more Americans are considering traveling by car this year for their next vacation, up 20% YOY for a 75% intent; travelers continue to express interest in domestic and more isolated trip options such as motorhomes and camper vans, visiting more remote destinations like mountains or lakes.

Country reopening policies

There are signs, however tentative, that many markets are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, according to a report from Horwath HTL. The report aims to highlight the official mechanisms for reopening which many countries have started to produce. Greece has already moved to a state of opening, although the hospitality industry is still trying to digest the new rules and costs associated with cleaning in a post COVID-19 world.

Read the report

Berlin: Record lows for May

STR’s preliminary data for Berlin hotels showed slight improvement from April but record lows for May. 

Comparison with May 2019:

•   Occupancy: -88% to 10%

•   ADR: -28.6% to €76.84 (US$87)

•   RevPAR: -91.4% to €7.72 (US$9)

The absolute occupancy, ADR and RevPAR levels were the lowest for any May in STR’s Berlin database. STR analysts note that May bank holidays helped push slightly better performance than April (occupancy: 8.3%, ADR: €71.90 (US$82)).

Macdonald Hotel chain warns 1,800 jobs at risk

Up to 1,800 jobs are under threat at the Scottish Macdonald Hotel chain as it looks to cut costs because of the coronavirus crisis. The company said that although most staff were on furlough, the current situation was “unsustainable.” Its deputy chairman also said there was “no realistic prospect” of returning to normal trading in the near future. His comments come after Scotland’s tourism secretary said the sector should prepare to reopen on July 15

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How to re-open in a COVID world

Cornell University Professor Cathy Enz and hotelier Ali Kasikci will be co-teaching a seminar in disaster recovery management in partnership with Forbes Travel Guide. It is designed to help hoteliers navigate the complexity of running a hotel post-pandemic. The course will be a day-long event in which online lecture and feedback sessions will be complemented with a hands-on hotel management challenge using a computer-based simulation. Participants will be operating a case study New York City upper-upscale hotel in a challenging post-COVID-19 market. The case will provide P&L data as well as performance benchmarks to a fictional competitive set. Participants will make decisions on pricing, marketing, staffing and training, vendor selection, cost containment and other tactical choices in a changing competitive environment. Zoom-based classes run June 18-30. 

Here is a link to registration

Luxury Boston hotel lays off, even as it reopens

One of Boston’s luxury hotels has let go about half its staff even though hotels in Massachusetts are now allowed to reopen under phase two of the state’s coronavirus economic recovery plan. The nearly 200 workers laid off by the Four Seasons Hotel Boston were told they would be able to reapply for their jobs, but some say they received less than half the severance they were entitled to. The hotel furloughed employees after closing March 24, then conducted the layoffs last month. It is currently taking reservations starting June 23.

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Choice offers ‘stay twice, earn a free night’ deal

Choice Privileges, the loyalty program from Choice Hotels International, is offering a “Stay Twice, Earn A Free Night” promotion for members, aimed at guests considering the return to travel. Choice Privileges members who book two separate qualifying stays at participating hotels – and check-in between June 10 and September 7 – will earn enough points for a future free night that can be redeemed at over 1,000 Choice-branded hotels. There is no limit to the number of points guests can earn toward free nights.