U.S. hotel industry continues decline
The U.S. hotel industry reported significant year-over-year declines in the three key performance metrics during the week of March 29 through April 4 due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to STR. In comparison with the same week the previous year, occupancy fell 68.5% to 21.6%; ADR fell 41.5% to US$76.51; and RevPAR declined 81.6% to US$16.50.
Aggregate data for the top 25 markets showed steeper declines across the metrics: occupancy (-74.7% to 19.4%), ADR (-47.0% to US$85.61) and RevPAR (-86.6% to US$16.57). Among those markets, Oahu Island, Hawaii, experienced the largest decrease in occupancy (-90.7%) and the only single-digit absolute occupancy level (7.0%). The decline in occupancy resulted in the steepest drop in RevPAR (-93.7% to US$10.83). Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota-Wisconsin, posted the largest decline in ADR (-57.0% to US$68.23). Of note, occupancy in New York, New York, was down 79.1% to 18.3%. In Seattle, Washington, occupancy dropped 73.3% to 19.5%.
London hotels not faring any better
Similarly, March data for London shows significant year-over-year declines in the three key performance metrics, according to STR. Comparison with March 2019:
Occupancy: -57.8% to 34.5%
ADR: -10.4% to GBP124.15
RevPAR: -62.1% to GBP42.88
Daily data for the month shows 31 consecutive days of double-digit declines in occupancy and RevPAR.
Brown Palace Hotel closes to guests
The famed Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado, has stopped hosting guests due to a sharp drop in bookings caused by the spread of COVID-19. General Manager Nick Moschetti said the closure amounts to a temporary suspension of service. He’s aiming to reopen the property by June 1, but said it could happen sooner or later.
A message from Marriott
In a statement released Tuesday, Marriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson announced the launch of “Rooms for Responders,” in collaboration with credit card companies American Express and JPMorgan Chase, which will provide up to US$10 million worth of hotel stays to frontline health care workers in cities including New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Sorenson also noted that Marriott will further extend cancellation policies and, for Marriott Bonvoy loyalty members, there will be a status extension as well as a pause on points expiration.
Oyo pledges to house frontline staff, those stranded
Indian budget hotel chain Oyo pledged to offer free accommodation to coronavirus frontline workers and foreigners who are stranded overseas, even as the US$10 billion startup battles criticism over its treatment of hotel owners. Oyo founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal said selected sites from its international network of hotels and homestays would be designated to house health care professionals, police and army staff working on the frontlines of the outbreak, including in the U.S. and India. Others would be repurposed as “makeshift” isolation rooms for asymptomatic people, or those who test positive for COVID-19 but do not show any symptoms.
IHG updates cancellation policy
IHG updated its cancellation policy, waiving all cancellation fees from existing bookings for stays up to June 30, 2020. Additionally, for all new bookings, guests now have the option of using the company’s new “Book Now, Pay Later,” a new rate offering with no deposit required and cancellation possible for up to 24 hours for direct bookings.
A little help from the bots
Hong Kong hotel operator L’hotel Group has turned to robots amid the COVID-19 slump, with the objective of providing meals to guests and ensuring reduced interaction with staff. The company, owned by property developer Chinachem Group, will have three artificial intelligence robots called Genie delivering meals and drinks to guests at its 432-room L’hotel Island South property in Wong Chuk Hang, which is still accepting guests in quarantine, by mid-April.
Focus on the ‘spirit of travel’
U.S. National Travel and Tourism Week (May 3-9) will spotlight resilience and hope in the face of the coronavirus pandemic with this year’s theme: the “Spirit of Travel.” Celebrated annually the first full week in May, NTTW was created by the U.S. Congress in 1983 to underscore the economic power of travel within the country. With more than 5.9 million travel-related jobs projected to be lost by the end of April and travel-related economic output expected to drop US$910 billion this year, “navigating the worst of the crisis and kick-starting the industry’s eventual recovery are crucial,” the group says.
Purple lights the way for San Fran
San Francisco’s city hall was bathed in purple lights on April 6 to honor hospitality industry workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The plan was announced only three days earlier and was taken up by major tourism-related locations throughout the city. Several hotels also decorated in purple to honor their employees — many of whom have lost their jobs due to the crisis — while others displayed heart shapes made of the lights in empty hotel rooms. The spectacle will be repeated on April 13 and 20 and is expected to grow.
Coming soon: the Art’otel London Hoxton: International hospitality real estate company PPHE Hotel Group has entered into a syndicated facility agreement arranged by Bank Hapoalim B.M. for a facility of up to £180 million (US$222 million) to fund the development of Art’otel London Hoxton, a 27-story, 343-room hotel with five floors of offices. The planned opening date is April 2024.