COVID-19: Trump D.C. seeks rent relief | Sternlicht: ‘Re-open economy’

Trump Hotels makes plea to U.S. government

Nearly empty and looking to cut costs because of the coronavirus pandemic, D.C.’s Trump International Hotel has recently made an inquiry to the U.S. government about changing its lease payments, which the federal government has reported at nearly US$268,000 per month.

The Trump Organization is current on its rent, according to Eric Trump, but he confirmed that the company had opened a conversation about possible delays in future monthly payments.

He went on to say that the company was asking the G.S.A. for any relief that it might be granting other federal tenants. U.S. President Donald Trump still owns the company, but his eldest sons run day-to-day operations.

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Accor launches quality certification label

Accor is partnering with Bureau Veritas, which specializes in testing, inspection and certification, to launch a quality assurance label based on sanitary measures that will be given to hotels and resorts deemed virus-free. The virus-free certification will be developed with experts and rolled out in Accor’s French properties first, followed by its European properties. The aim is that travelers will be able to search hotels, resorts and restaurants on a dedicated website to check whether a property has been deemed safe, before making a booking or visiting.

Read more in The National 

Sternlicht: ‘Government can’t carry US$23T economy’

Hotel owner and real estate titan Barry Sternlicht told CNBC on Tuesday that the United States has to start reopening its economy – even postal code by postal code. The Starwood Capital founder said that property executives are working on “best practices” for reopening the nation’s hotels and retail stores at the behest of the White House. Those practices would include protocols for deep cleaning and possibly temperature checks at entrances to hotels or stores, he added. In the absence of government protection for businesses against coronavirus lawsuits, he said that having guests or customers sign waivers may also be considered.

See more at CNBC

Disney furloughs 100,000 hotel, park workers

The Walt Disney Co. furloughed 100,000 theme park and hotel workers due to the coronavirus crisis. Hardest hit was Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, where 70,000 workers will now have to rely on the state’s unemployment assistance program, which pays US$275 a week for 12 weeks, among the lowest rates in the U.S., local labor union officials said. Disney World employs 75,000 people, making it the biggest single-site employer in the country. Both it and Disneyland in Anaheim, California, shut down five weeks ago.

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3 found dead at NYC hotel used for quarantine

New York City officials are investigating the deaths of three men over the weekend quarantined at a hotel in New York City. The men were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn South in Times Square in rooms designated for patients recovering from COVID-19. It is not clear if their deaths were related to the virus. Two of the men died Saturday, a law enforcement source says, and the third passed away Sunday morning. City officials confirm guests staying at the Hilton Garden Inn on 37th Street have been released from the hospital, deemed safe to recover on their own.

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Tokyo’s Olympic hotel gains will lessen in 2021: Forecast

The Summer Olympics’ performance gains for Tokyo hotels are projected to be lower after the one-year delay in the event, according to a forecast from STR and Tourism Economics. Tokyo is expected to see double-digit increases in RevPAR in both July 2021 (+22.1% to ¥16,968/US$157) and August 2021 (+27.2% to ¥17,995/US$167)). While growth levels are similar to the previous forecast, absolute levels will be much lower. Additionally, as a result of the event date change, the same months in 2020 are forecasted for double-digit RevPAR declines.

IHIF canceled

The International Hospitality Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin has officially been canceled due to the continuing global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The conference was originally scheduled to place March 2-4 and then was postponed until May 4-6, with the hope that the pandemic would have passed. After many weeks of monitoring the evolving situation, the organizers of IHIF ultimately decided to cancel. IHIF 2021 will take place March 8-10 at the InterContinental and Pullman Hotels in Berlin.

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Middle East and North Africa performance

HotStats has released findings of Middle East & North Africa hotel performance for 2019 in its “Profit Matters: MENA Annual Hotel Performance Tracker.” The report tracks data for the total MENA region and individually highlighted performance for Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh and Cairo and includes data on revenue and expense pertaining to the rooms, F&B, and undistributed departments and features updated data on the impact from COVID-19. According to the report, the region decreased year-over-year on both the revenue and profit sides of the ledger. Total revenue (TRevPAR) was down 5.8% compared to 2018, while profit (GOPPAR) declined 9.3% over the same period. The overall drop in revenue was impacted by a drop in RevPAR, accentuated by a 9.1% YOY decrease in average room rate.

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Rosewood provides some relief

Rosewood Hotel Group started a relief initiative designed to support the company’s associates and communities that have been affected by COVID-19. Comprising a brand-wide associate relief fund as well as property-driven efforts in support of the group’s local communities (ranging from the donation of hotel rooms to meal preparation and delivery for essential workers) the “Rosewood Raise” program will aim to help those whose jobs and welfare have been most impacted by the global pandemic. To date, the program has generated:

•   Complimentary accommodations for hospital workers in Wuhan and Guiyang, two of the first destinations to be touched by COVID-19

•   Free meal preparation and delivery services for essential personnel in Bangkok and Montecito and hospital workers in London, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi, as well as numerous food bank donations worldwide

•   US$2 million in initial pledges to the associate relief fund from the group’s corporate executives, inclusive of salary contributions and a commitment from the company to match all employee cash contributions to the fund

Read more about the program

What hospitality leaders in Australia and New Zealand think

To identify the business impact of COVID-19, CBRE Hotels in Australia and New Zealand conducted an online survey of a number of key market participants ranging from investors, owner-operators, developers and operators in order to gauge current market sentiment across the industry. The results of the survey provide an interesting insight into how industry stakeholders are currently responding to COVID-19, as well as some of the likely longer-term implications arising from the crisis. Key insights include:

•   Respondents believe that operators should focus on ensuring cashflow and business continuity as key short-term planning measures to manage the impacts of COVID-19

•   Over half of the respondents identified reducing operating costs and seeking other income sources as a primary response to the current crisis

•   Investor appetite has softened, with 28% of respondents likely to invest less in the sector relative to December of last year

•   Almost 90% of respondents anticipate that banks will hold off on acting on assets under pressure and adopt a “wait and see” approach in the interim

Read the full survey