Losses in London escalate: A slight dip in occupancy for February grew nearly tenfold for the first week in March, according to preliminary STR data. Last month saw YOY occupancy off by 2.3%, but by early March the decline had grown to 21%. ADR, which held steady in February, sank 8.5% in early March. RevPAR shrank by 27.7 during March 1-7.
UK hospitality under “existential threat”: Some of the UK’s largest hotel, pub and restaurant chains — and the jobs they support – might not survive after coronavirus without quick government intervention, a trade group representative wrote in a letter to the U.K. chancellor. “This is business-critical… Put simply, if you don’t have people coming through the door, you will run out of cash very quickly,” said Kate Nicholls, who heads up UK Hospitality.
Marriott stresses flexibility: In a message to guests, Marriott noted it would relax cancellation penalties for no-refund reservations through the end of April and have suspended Bonvoy points expiration through the end of August. The company also reiterated its commitment to following the latest cleaning and hygiene recommendations from the CDC and WHO.
Park Hotels shoring up business: Cost cutting at the property level, temporary suspension of operations at hotels and restaurants and cancellation of capital improvements are among steps Park Hotels & Resorts is taking to soften the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The company also said it would dip into its credit facility to make sure is has liquidity for ongoing commercial and debt service obligations. Park will pay first quarter dividends next month but has suspended dividends going forward.
Israel takes novel approach to containment: Cyber tech monitoring normally used in anti-terrorism efforts is among the weapons Israel will be using to defend against coronavirus spread, according to Reuters. If the cabinet approves, the monitoring would be used to identify individuals who have been in contact with others carrying the virus. The Israeli government said malls, hotels, restaurants and theaters would be closed as of March 15, and told employees to stay home from work if possible. Pharmacies, supermarkets and banks will remain open.
How coronavirus has impacted Italian hotels: A firsthand look at what it’s like to run a hotel in a country on lockdown provides some sobering insights into the current reality. The report is an interview in Phocuswire with a Florence hotel operator, where hospitals are asking shuttered hotels to take on recovering patients and refunds are the norm. The operator predicts distribution channels will be in upheaval when the pandemic is over.
In Hawaii, half-full hotels “if we’re lucky”: A University of Hawaii economist predicted the islands’ hotels would be lucky to be half full over the next few months, according to West Hawaii Today. Carl Bonham told members of an advisory committee to the House of Representatives that he expects tourism industry workers will soon start losing jobs and having their hours cut. The normal 80% occupancy this time of year will likely drop by 30 to 40 percentage points, he noted. Hawaiian Airlines is looking at scaling back flights to the U.S. mainland, following cutbacks in flights to Asia. Bonham also predicted COVID-19 will pitch Hawaii and the U.S. into recession.
As multiple airlines have canceled flights serving Malaga, Spain, a rumored airport shutdown has resulted in multiple Costa del Sol hotels and restaurants closing down and laying off staff. Airport workers described it as deserted.
Representatives from a Lisbon hotel owned by Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo denied reports that it was being temporarily converted into a hospital for coronavirus patients. Ronaldo himself has been under quarantine since one of his teammates tested positive.
With occupancy dipping into the 20s, “this crisis is two to three times worse than” after the 9/11 attacks, Brussels Hotel Association President Yves Fonck told The Brussels Times.
Hotels in India are fielding a rash of calls from bridal parties seeking to cancel or postpone their events because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
Disney is expanding its closures to include all Disney owned and operated stores and hotels. Disney World theme parks closed on March 16; they will remain closed until the end of the month.