COVID-19: U.S. loses 50% of hospitality jobs in April | Shanghai Disney opens

Nearly half of U.S. leisure and hospitality jobs were lost in April

A mass of layoffs in the leisure and hospitality industries led the U.S. economy to its worst month of job losses in modern history. The industry, which includes waiters, bellhops, bartenders and casino employees, suffered by far the largest losses in April as the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it kept Americans homebound. The leisure and hospitality industry lost 7.7 million jobs, or 47% of total positions. Most layoffs were in foodservice, where the government said nearly 5.5 million chefs, waiters, cashiers and other restaurant staff lost employment. Casinos and amusement parks also cut more than 1 million workers last month.

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Chinese consumers jump at Shanghai Disney reopening

Tickets for Monday’s reopening of Shanghai Disney sold out within minutes. Closed since January 25, Shanghai Disney marks the first major theme park to reopen since the COVID-19 shutdowns. Usually, the park sees around 80,000 visitors per day, but the government has mandated Disney operate at 30% capacity, or about 24,000 visitors. CEO Bob Chapek said during a recent earnings call that the park initially will operate well below that capacity and ramp up to reach that 30% cap over the course of several weeks.

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Meliá sees US$86M loss in first quarter

Spain’s Meliá Hotels International reported a first-quarter net loss of €79.7 million (US$86.15 million) after the coronavirus outbreak forced the closure of most of its hotels. In the first quarter 2019 the company reported a net profit of €11.5 million (US$12.4 million), while core profit for the quarter fell 85% to €14.2 million (US$15.3 million). Meliá CEO Gabriel Escarrer said the COVID-19 pandemic had caused a progressive and drastic drop in business, culminating in the “closure of practically all of our hotels except for a few hotels in Asia Pacific countries that have not been hit so hard.” Of Meliá’s 326 hotels worldwide, 40 are open, mainly in Portugal, Southeast Asia and Brazil.

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‘Stay Safe with Meliá’

Also, Meliá developed a program for the gradual reopening of its hotels in the post-COVID-19 recovery phase. The program, “Stay Safe with Meliá,” includes actions in several areas:

•   A cleaning and disinfection plan 

•   Recommendations on occupational health to guarantee safety on the return to the workplace and the management of possible cases of infection

•   An operations guide with all the adaptations to procedures and training materials

•   Brand standards adapted in different areas such as food & beverage, in-room experience, wellness, entertainment, etc.

•   Innovation and technology to guarantee the safety of facilities

•   Technical facilities and maintenance guide

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Host Hotels forecast

An analysis from SunTrust Robinson Humphrey shows that Rockville, Maryland-based Host Hotels reported headline Q1 adjusted EBITDA of US$164 million, below the firm’s initial US$201 million estimate. So far, Host has suspended operations at 35 of its 80 hotels. Comparable constant RevPAR of -23.3% was slightly below SunTrust’s pre-earnings estimate of -22%. Comparable domestic RevPAR of -23.4% was slightly worse than the Q1 RevPAR for top 25 market (STR data), U.S. luxury and upper upscale hotels of -21.9% although SunTrust attributes some noise from the Marriott International renovation program, which the firm says is temporary and, in the long run, a benefit for Host.

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Deutsche Hospitality re-opens more hotels 

New guidelines introduced by Frankfurt-based Deutsche Hospitality stipulate the revision and adaptation of all hygiene and disinfection measures, specific training for every member of staff and regular checks and monitoring of the measures put in place. Two key points are more frequent cleaning and disinfection and social distancing rules in public areas. Further measures include the fitting of perspex screens at reception, proactive guest information and the disinfection of room keys and cards. Deutsche will begin by reopening several IntercityHotels on May 11. This will be followed on May 25 by the reopening of selected hotels of the Steigenberger and Maxx brands. Zleep hotels in Scandinavia have been open for several weeks.

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G6 Hospitality’s cleaning standards

G6 Hospitality, parent company of the Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands, launched “Clean@6,” an initiative to up the brands cleaning standards for the age of COVID-19. The initiative focuses on three critical touch points, including:

Enhanced cleaning and sanitization

  • More frequent cleaning and heavy disinfection of high-touch public surfaces
  • Hand sanitizer stations in the lobby and in the team center
  • Use of EPA-approved, antiviral disinfectants to sanitize the most commonly touched areas of guest rooms
  • As needed, a third-party supplier to provide deep cleaning and sanitization services

Physical and social distancing

  • Social distancing encouraged in all common areas and at the back of the house
  • Plexi-glass hygiene guards installed at front desk terminals
  • Where available, use of exterior front desk windows (in lieu of inside lobbies)
  • Implemented single-use key cards for the remainder of the year
  • Curtailed lobby coffee service and removed vending area microwaves 
  • Monitoring/limiting lobby occupancy and interim closure of pool
  • For guest safety and comfort, hotel staff will not enter any occupied room. Housekeeping services for stayover guests will include pre-scheduled trash removal, amenity replenishment, and fresh towels and linens

Safe behavioral practices

  • Increased guest communications on COVID-19 best practices and property requirements
  • Team members who do not feel well or who have high temperatures are asked to go home/remain at home
  • All employees fully trained on new standards, sanitization protocols and equipment; procedures reinforced in daily team meetings
  • Employees trained to perform frequent hand washing
  • Required use of masks and disposable gloves by team members at all times while on property

Elsewhere: Oberoi to operate residences in London

Real estate investment firm Cain International signed an agreement with Oberoi Group to operate 23 serviced residences in London’s Mayfair neighborhood. The deal represents The Oberoi Group’s debut in Europe. Due for completion in 2022, the branded residences are part of Cain International’s portfolio of luxury hospitality investments and loans; other brands include Six Senses, Waldorf Astoria, Hilton, Raffles Hotel & Residences, Aman Hotel & Residences, Rosewood Hotels and Soho House.

Read more in BW Hotelier