COVID-19: Hyatt lays off 1,300 | Airbnb sees V-shaped recovery

Kalibri: Occupancy flat, but some hotels reopening

Nationally occupancy levels remain relatively flat at trough levels reached about three weeks ago, stabilizing at  about 27% occupancy, according to a trend report from Kalibri Labs. ADR levels continue to decline slightly as segment mix continues to affect room rates at a national level. There is also starting to be consistent occupancy movement within room rate purchase categories at the national level. It appears that some hotels are beginning to reopen as the percentage of closed rooms dropped from last week. Surprisingly, this trend is also true for luxury hotels, with just over 40% of luxury hotel rooms open, up from 33% a few weeks ago.

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Hyatt lays off 1,300 workers

Due to the continued complications from the coronavirus pandemic, Hyatt has made the decision to layoff 1,300 workers, beginning June 1. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hyatt has reduced expenditures, extended salary reductions for the senior leadership team and board of directors, and made temporary work and/or pay reductions for all corporate colleagues.

Airbnb Booking data shows V-shaped recovery for U.S.

Airbnb bookings in the U.S. are rebounding at an accelerating rate, implying a possible V-shaped recovery for short-term rental bookings, and potentially the accommodations industry and even the wider economy, according to booking data supplied by AllTheRooms Analytics, a provider of short-term rental and Airbnb data and analytics. The data shows a broad recovery across a number of Airbnb’s key markets in the U.S. Some European country markets also continue to show signs of improvement. U.S. 90-day Airbnb occupancy rates, the percentage of nights that properties listed on Airbnb are booked over the next 90 days, reached 17.5% on May 8, a gain of 7.0% week-on-week. That’s compared with a gain of 4.1% the week prior. Despite the promising rebound, 90-day Airbnb occupancy rates in the U.S. are still down 38.3% compared with 2019, but the year-on-year gap looks to be closing quickly.

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Business travel future could hang on tracing apps

Mobile phone applications that trace the coronavirus could help decide whether business travelers and vacation-goers are able to move about. Governments in Europe and elsewhere are turning to voluntary mobile apps to help trace possible infections of the coronavirus, a tool that will help track and contain what they expect to be resurgent outbreaks of the virus once lockdown measures lift and people start to fly internationally. But officials, airlines and experts say they’re worried that some countries, like the U.K. and France, are working on systems that are fundamentally incompatible with others, such as Germany and Austria.

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Chinese travelers eye the Philippines

According to the “China Philippines Travel Sentiment Survey” from hospitality consulting group C9 Hotelworks and Delivering Asia Communications, 61% of respondents in first-tier cities across China would like to visit the Philippines within 2020. Post-crisis resumption of international travel is a key economic issue for the Philippines, where tourism accounts for 12.7% of GDP. While domestic staycations are likely to be a short-term cash flow strategy for hotel and tourism establishments in the months ahead, the reopening of the overseas market is critical to stabilize the sector. South Korea and China accounted for nearly half of all international visitors to the country last year, and mounting prospects are likely to see intra-regional travel coming back online for the remainder of the year.

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Thayer Ventures in US$80M fund for tech

Thayer Ventures, which focuses on technology innovation in travel and transportation, raised US$80 million to invest in startups in the US$10 trillion global travel and transportation industries. Limited partners in the new fund include strategic investors, family offices, sovereign wealth funds and other institutional capital. Investments already made out of the fund include cross-industry connectivity platform Beekeeper, commercial cleaning robotics innovator Dishcraft Robotics, mobility pioneer May Mobility, and hotel management disruptor Lifehouse.

COVID-19 technical assistance package for tourism recovery

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released a “Tourism Recovery Technical Assistance Package” to offer guidance to member states in response to COVID-19. The package is structured around three main pillars: economic recovery, marketing and promotion and institutional strengthening and resilience building. With tourism among the hardest-hit of all sectors, UNWTO has identified three possible scenarios for the months ahead. Depending on when restrictions on travel are lifted, international tourist arrivals could decline by 60% to 80% in 2020. This could translate into a decline in export revenues from tourism of between US$910 billion to US$1.2 trillion and place 100 million to 120 million jobs directly at risk.

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MGM Resorts releases health and safety plan

MGM Resorts International has released a report outlining the health and safety protocols the company will implement prior to re-opening its domestic properties and resorts that were temporarily closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report details MGM Resorts’ “Seven-Point Safety Plan,” a set of protocols and procedures designed in conjunction with medical and scientific experts to deter the spread of the virus, protect customers and employees and rapidly respond to potential new cases.

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Benchmark’s meeting accelerator program

Hospitality company Benchmark has launched a recovery initiative that aims to give support to meeting planners and partners in a post COVID-19 world. In effect through March 2021, the plan includes flexible short-term bookings, relaxed attrition and cancellation fees, and 100% credit given on re-bookings. Meeting spaces at Benchmark properties will be restructured, focusing on long-term safety to align with conscious distancing and optimizing healthy hygiene practices. To support independent planners, Benchmark will increase commissions on new business from 10% to 12%, with 7% distributed immediately upon booking.

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Elsewhere: Three signings for Dream in Tulum

New York-based hotel and management company Dream Hotel Group has partnered with Tulum-based real estate development group Los Amigos to operate three new properties in Tulum, Mexico. All three projects will fall under the company’s new “By Dream Hotel Group” lifestyle brand. The three new locations – one beachfront hotel and two condo-hotels – will be branded as Central Park Lagunas by Dream Hotel Group Tulum (177 rooms, set to open in winter 2020), Central Park Rios by Dream Hotel Group Tulum (120 rooms, set to open in winter 2022), and The Beach Club by Dream Hotel Group Tulum (an existing waterfront property that will be reconditioned to include 20 new guest rooms and which will open in spring 2021).