‘We stand ready as an industry’
During a business roundtable event held at the White House Wednesday, leaders from the hospitality industry laid out how they plan to safely reopen their businesses as Americans go back to work and the economy follows suit. “We stand ready as an industry to help get America open and moving again,” Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta said. “We have developed and are working on the absolute best protocols so that when people come into our hotels, the rooms have been cleaned, they’ve been sealed,” adding that customers should “feel safe and secure.”
U.S. hotel industry continues steep performance decline
Reflecting the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. hotel industry reported significant year-over-year declines in the three key performance metrics during the week of April 19-25, according to data from STR.
In comparison with the week of April 21-27, 2019, the industry recorded the following:
Occupancy: -62.2% to 26.0%
ADR: -42.9% to US$73.61
RevPAR: -78.4% to US$19.13
Year-over-year declines were less steep than previous weeks due to a comparison with the time of Passover in 2019. Additionally, absolute occupancy rose slightly from the levels of the previous two weeks (23.4% and 21.0%).
Aggregate data for the top 25 markets showed larger declines than the national averages: occupancy (-67.2% to 24.8%), ADR (-48.8% to US$80.46) and RevPAR (-83.2% to US$19.95).
Among those markets, Oahu Island, Hawaii, experienced the largest drop in occupancy (-87.5%) and the only single-digit absolute occupancy level (9.8%). The decline in occupancy resulted in the steepest decrease in RevPAR (-92.1% to US$13.95). Miami/Hialeah, Florida, posted the largest decline in ADR (-62.0% to US$85.94). Occupancy in New York City, was down 53.2% to 41.0%. The market’s absolute occupancy came in at 33.3% the previous week.
Oyo to offload more loss-making hotels
India’s Oyo Hotels and Homes plans to offload more properties around the world, three sources familiar with the matter said, as the coronavirus pandemic halts the company’s rapid global expansion. While Oyo does not plan to completely exit any market, it will either terminate or not renew contracts with loss-making hotels, two of the sources said. A fourth source aware of the plans added that Oyo had already ditched a number of loss-making properties as part of a broader restructuring that began last year.
Latin America shows increase in cancellations
Data from hospitality revenue consultant Duetto is still showing an increased number of cancellations coming in for Latin America, a region at the back end of the crisis. The data does indicate that the region still has a lot of confidence for the latter part of the year, as bookings increase, especially for the latter part of the summer. Web traffic for the region is also showing confidence.
Legal repercussions for hotels that stay open
The legal landscape that will unfold as a result of the COVID-19 crisis is largely unknown, according to Law360. While most U.S. companies are either shut down or only allowing employees to work from home, some hotels are open, usually to the extent they are being used to provide rooms for essential workforces, as well as vulnerable populations. While many owners of hotels and restaurants may elect to close down entirely during the crisis, for those who remain open, what duty of care do such owners now owe to their guests and customers in order to avoid legal liability, and how will plaintiffs prove such claims?
Dalata lays off 3,500 workers
Ireland-based operator Dalata Hotel Group has laid off 3,500 of its workers as a result of closures forced by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to company CEO Pat McCann. Employees remaining on payroll have seen “significant” cuts in salaries, McCann said. Overall, he stressed that the hotel group could manage with the current situation for the foreseeable future.
‘Buy one, give one’
MMGY Global, in partnership with the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), has launched a vacation layaway program, “Buy One, Give One,” designed to help jumpstart leisure travel, and generate immediate revenue for hotels. Participating hospitality brands will offer a range of offers to consumers — from discounted stays to gift cards to loyalty points — and in return, donate room nights, gift cards or loyalty points to organizations like the American Nurses Association and NewYork-Presbyterian, to distribute to medical professionals who can use them toward future leisure stays.
Local will recover quickly, international, not so much: Survey
Hoteliers in the Netherlands and Belgium expect that the corona crisis will have a long-term impact but will eventually recover, according to a survey from Horwath HTL. The survey also indicated that hoteliers believe the domestic market will recover relatively quickly and perhaps even strengthen, but that the international market will face a slow recovery.
Expected impact of the corona crisis:
• 5% expect an increase in the tourist individual segment in 2020
• 12% even believe that the domestic market will emerge stronger
• 67% expect recovery within six months and two years
• 85% expect revenues to be much worse in 2020 than in 2019
• 80% expect a greater impact than from the 2008 financial crisis
• 72% expect tour groups to perform much worse than in 2019
Americans will be wary of public spaces long after COVID-19: Survey
Health care solutions CompanyVital Vio released its “Wellness in a Post-COVID World” survey report, which reveals high-traffic areas (hotels, airports, train stations) will remain empty for quite some time post-COVID-19 even after governments deem them safe. Data indicates that only 40% of Americans will only go to public spaces when absolutely necessary.
• The majority (82%) are now more aware of/concerned with cleaning protocols in public spaces (including aircrafts, hotel rooms, rideshares or trains)
• More than half (58%) are more concerned than ever about their peers’ hygiene practices
• Over a quarter (27%) of Americans are most concerned about travel/transportation (compared to other public spaces)
• Millennials are the most concerned with travel spaces (33%)
Best Western’s new cleanliness standards
Best Western Hotels & Resorts is launching its “We Care Clean” program, which ups the company’s cleaning standards and operational best practices at the property-level. Based upon guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Health Canada, the new program addresses guest room and common area cleanliness, to streamlined processes that minimize contact between guests and associates. In terms of guest rooms and housekeeping, new protocol means:
• Unnecessary items will be removed from guest rooms, such as decorative pillows, bed scarves, paper notepads and pens
• Housekeeping offerings will be modified for stay-over guests, including the elimination of a full cleaning service unless specifically requested by guests
Enhanced and thorough cleaning protocols will be implemented in guest rooms. Guest rooms will not be entered for 24 to 72 hours after check-out, at which time the room, linens and all touch points, for example, faucets, door handles, light switches, thermostats, clocks and hangers will be cleaned with chemicals aimed at killing COVID-19