COVID-19: Choice franchisees sue | Future of Thai domestic travel

Choice franchisees file lawsuit alleging discrimination

Nearly 50 franchisees of Choice Hotels International have filed a lawsuit alleging that the hotel company has engaged in unlawful business practices and discriminated against franchisees of South Asian descent. Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the lawsuit is the culmination of longstanding frustrations that some of Choice’s franchisees said they have had with the company. Franchisees say the pandemic has only exacerbated these issues, which include “unconscionable, fraudulent, unlawful, and anticompetitive business practice,” according to the lawsuit.

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Future of Thailand domestic travel

Thailand has seen many positive signals that Thais are beginning to warm to the idea of travel. But many questions remain, according to a report from branding consultancy Quo. When do they intend to travel? What are they worried about? And how have hotels prepared and adapted for the resumption of travel? The company spoke with industry experts and travelers across the nation to get answers.

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Getty Images

Shangri-La’s new safety protocol

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Group has rolled out its “Shangri-La Cares commitment,” raising hygiene and safety protocols for all properties worldwide. Shangri-La has already rolled out a pilot program at select hotels, which have been operating throughout April and May, to refine additional health and safety protocols and to expand on already rigorous operational protocols with respect to the pandemic situation. All new procedures and protocols will be introduced globally in June.

Business travel shows optimism

Higher levels of optimism in the business travel sector have started to appear, according to new research from the Global Business Travel Association. Domestic and essential business travel will likely resume first, especially with industry standardized health and safety standards. While business travel continues to stall, there are some signs companies are slowly resuming some business travel. A poll reveals half (49%) of companies plan to resume domestic travel in the near future (one to three months) and one in five (22%) plan to resume all travel in the next one to three months as well. The poll also reveals a small uptick in the number of companies allowing some essential travel.

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Overall U.S. travel spending plunges 45% this year

Total travel spending in the U.S. is predicted to drop 45% by the end of this year, spurring renewed calls for federal measures to support the industry that was one of the top U.S. employers and exporters prior to the pandemic. According to a forecast prepared for the U.S. Travel Association by Tourism Economics, domestic travel spending is forecast to drop 40% (from US$972 billion in 2019 to US$583 billion in 2020) while international inbound spending is expected to free fall a whopping 75% (US$155 billion to US$39 billion).

Global tourism organizations create coalition

Six organizations have come together for the first time to form a coalition with the global mission to place destinations at the center of recovery strategies. “The Future of Tourism Coalition” includes the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST), Destination Stewardship Centre, Green Destinations, Sustainable Travel International, Tourism Cares and the Travel Foundation, with the guidance of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). As tourism moves forward and recovers, re-centering around a strong set of principles is vital for long term sustainable and equitable growth, the coalition says.

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The logistics of HMAs during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has put additional pressure on hotel owners and operators, which in turn has resulted in disunity during a critical period, according to a report from Horwath HTL. The report discussed the importance of a “win-win” hotel management agreement and why it matters. It goes on to talk about the pressure points of an agreement that are often highly contended such as the term, fees, centralized services, performance test and the language found throughout most agreements.

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New AHLA series

Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan will help launch a new series from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) hosted by AHLA President and CEO Chip Rogers. “The Forum” will be a series of thought-provoking conversations with the nation’s top business and political leaders to discuss forces that will shape the future hotel industry, especially in light of the pandemic. 

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