New CEO for Expedia in effort to fight slump
Expedia Group named Peter Kern, its current vice chairman, as CEO, and the company is additionally raising about US$3.2 billion to boost its finances after virus lockdowns have crippled the travel industry. Eric Hart, who’s been with the company for more than a decade, is now chief financial officer. The Seattle-based OTA withdrew its full-year forecast last month, citing the rapid spread of COVID-19 and accompanying travel bans. But the company was fighting off worsening trends before the pandemic and earlier this year had decided to eliminate 3,000 jobs.
All-time lows for Asia Pacific; declines in South America
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Asia Pacific hotel industry reported all-time lows in three key performance metrics during March, according to data from STR. U.S. dollar constant currency, March 2020 vs. March 2019:
Asia Pacific region
Occupancy: -59.5% to 28.3%
ADR: -17.6% to US$80.82
RevPAR: -66.7% to US$22.85
The absolute levels in each of the three KPIs were the lowest for any month on record in the region.
Occupancy: -65.4% to 23.2%
ADR: -35.4% to CNY332.41 (US$47)
RevPAR: -77.6% to CNY76.96 (US$11)
Showing green shoots of recovery, China’s absolute occupancy level was the up from February (12.8%), which was the lowest occupancy month on record in the country. Key markets, Beijing and Shanghai, reported decreases in the metric of 78.7% and 73.7%, respectively.
Occupancy: -53.6% to 38.3%
ADR: -19.1% to SGD212.40 (US$149)
RevPAR: -62.4% to SGD81.35 (US$57)
The absolute occupancy and RevPAR levels were the lowest for any month in STR’s Singapore database.
In its first month with a visible impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central/South America hotel industry reported steep declines in the three key performance metrics during March, according to data from STR.
Central/South America region
Occupancy: -48.0% to 31.0%
ADR: -6.1% to US$85.61
RevPAR: -51.2% to US$26.56
The absolute occupancy and RevPAR levels were the lowest for any month on record in the region.
Occupancy: -49.6% to 30.5%
ADR: -0.7% to COP272,820 (US$68)
RevPAR: -50.0% to COP83,252 (US$21)
The absolute occupancy was the lowest for any month in STR’s Colombia database. Bogotá experienced a 48.4% decrease in occupancy. A detailed look into Colombia’s early March daily data can be found here.
Occupancy: -43.0% to 32.4%
ADR: -9.9% to BRL294.19 (US$54)
RevPAR: -48.6% to BRL95.43 (US$17)
The absolute occupancy level was the lowest for any month in STR’s Brazil database. When looking at key markets, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo recorded occupancy declines of 46.2% and 46.9%, respectively.
India and beyond
Horwath HTL India’s Managing Director Vijay Thacker makes change recommendations for his region in addition to offering more globally focused perspectives in a new report. The standstill enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic gives hotels the opportunities to move towards changes that will arise when hotels re-open, Thacker writes. New learnings must be taken in and actions purposefully directed.
Nassetta: More help for needed for hotel chains
The nation’s major hotel chains are going to need much more help from the government beyond the CARES Act to jump-start hiring and an industry recovery, Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta asserts. “When we move [beyond the crisis], we are going to need to have marketing campaigns that are going to end up having to be supported locally, regionally and likely underwritten in part by the federal government to get people — once they feel safe, and we have enough testing and right hygiene and protection protocols and those safety measures are there — that we get a message out that it’s safe to travel,” he told Yahoo Finance.
The relationship between trends and COVID-19
The ways in which consumers and brands are responding to the coronavirus crisis isn’t entirely unexpected, according to trend analysis firm Stylus. From empathetic engagement strategies to a revolution of working practices, many of these corroborate a selection of consumer shifts identified by Stylus in the years and months prior to the pandemic. The firm explores seven of them in the context of COVID-19, including wellness, empathetic brand engagement, retail, and work/life balance, among others.
The new normal
In a video interview with Hunter Hotel Advisors, Noble Investment Group’s Mit Shah discusses the new normal in the hotel industry.
The hotel of the future? No touchpoints
The Four Seasons New York, among many other hotels, is opening its doors and guest rooms to front-line medical professionals as the city grapples with coronavirus. A story by NBC News offers some insight into how hotels are – and will be – tackling higher cleanliness and safety standards through the lens of the Four Seasons, which is owned by H. Ty Warner. Changes include almost no touch points with guests, virtual check-in and check-out, discontinued room service, and elevator rides for one guest at a time.
Elsewhere: Centara signs two in Vietnam
Bangkok-based Centara Hotels & Resorts is expanding its presence in Vietnam with the signing of management agreements for two large-scale resorts being developed by Novaland Group, a Vietnamese property and real estate developer. The agreements cover Centara’s appointment to manage a total of 2,260 rooms across the two resorts, both now under construction and due to open in 2022 and 2023.