Cancun hotels want June opening, certification
The Cancun, Mexico, hotel industry plans to reopen its doors June 1 and wants to do so by selling itself as a “COVID-free” or “coronavirus-free destination,” for which it is promoting the creation of a new certificate to be granted by the country’s Ministries of Health and Tourism. The proposal was made by the president of the Hotel Association of Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres, Roberto Cintron Gomez, and his counterpart at the Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels, Rafael Garcia, who is lobbying on the issue at the federal level in Mexico.
March sees devastating impact of virus
Recent HotStats full profit-and-loss performance data for March illustrated the destructiveness of COVID-19 on the global hotel industry, with the U.S., Europe, Asia and Middle East all recording year-over-year profit drops greater than 100%. Gross operating profit per available room (GOPPAR) was down 110.6% YOY to US$-12.71. The triple-digit drop was by far the largest percentage decline ever recorded by HotStats since it started charting U.S. data. The previous high was -10.4% in March 2015. March also marked the first time in the HotStats database that the U.S. recorded a negative GOPPAR value.
Spain-based NH rolls out new health standards
In an attempt to maintain safety for guests and staff, Madrid-based NH Hotel Group and inspection company SGS are collaborating on a project to formalize health precautions. The new processes, which will include the revision and adaptation of all hygiene and disinfection protocols of the facilities, training for employees and control and monitoring of the measures, will be implemented in the hotels, so they will be prepared to receive their assessment seal as they recover activity. The NH Collection Barbizon Palace hotel in Amsterdam, currently in operation, and the NH Nacional in Madrid will be the first establishments to have the new health standards.
Texas’ Ashford will keep US$126M in small-biz loans
A group of publicly traded hotel companies based in Dallas, Texas, one of the biggest beneficiaries of a U.S. loan program to aid small companies during the COVID-19 crises, says it’s keeping US$126 million of that money to help put its thousands of employees back to work. In a detailed, 26-point note posted to its website, Ashford said criticism is “misplaced” over hotel companies getting forgivable loans from the government effort to rescue small businesses ailing from the COVID-19 pandemic. Ashford’s pushback comes as the program prepares to open the lending window Monday for a second time following an initial round that saw public companies claim millions in low-interest loans.
Global government response
Horwath HTL has released a report examining what governments around the world are doing, or not doing, to support hospitality businesses. This week includes updated information for Indonesia, Singapore and Spain, as well as new information for China, Taiwan, New Zealand, Ivory Coast, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands and Portugal.
AHLA’s industrywide cleaning standards
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) has launched “Safe Stay,” an initiative focused on enhanced hotel cleaning practices, social interactions and workplace protocols to meet the new health and safety challenges and expectations presented by COVID-19. The program will attempt to change hotel industry norms, behaviors and standards to ensure both hotel guests and employees are confident in the cleanliness and safety of hotels once travel resumes. Best practices so far include:
• Enhanced cleaning standards throughout the hotel, including guest rooms, meeting spaces, common areas and back-of-house spaces
• Superior cleaning products with a greater concentration of bacteria-killing ingredients, in accordance with CDC guidelines
• Social distancing practices and reducing person-to-person contact
• Increased transparency throughout the guest’s visit
Elsewhere: Can Mirae hang on to US$5.8B in Anbang assets?
A Korean asset manager that had promised to buy a chain of U.S. luxury hotels sold off by Chinese insurer Anbang failed to make a payment due April 17, raising questions about whether the US$5.8 billion deal will proceed. Mirae Asset Management won the 15-site Strategic Hotels portfolio in an auction last year, seeing off bids from a host of deep-pocketed investors including Blackstone, which had sold the chain to Anbang, Brookfield, SoftBank-backed Fortress and Government Investment Corp of Singapore. Mirae said the deal was still ongoing and that it was in talks with Anbang.