5 things to know: 13 February 2020
 
5 things to know: 13 February 2020
13 FEBRUARY 2020 11:13 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Murren to leave MGM
  • Coronavirus 'patient zero' tied to hotel in Singapore
  • Wyndham saw flat RevPAR in 2019, expects similar results in 2020
  • US hotel construction jumps 6.8%
  • Miami hotels see benefit from cruise growth

Murren to leave MGM: MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren believes his company is poised for future growth, but he doesn’t plan to lead the company to that future as MGM announced the first stages of an executive succession plan, HNN’s Bryan Wroten writes.

Speaking during the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 earnings call on Wednesday, Murren said he’s enjoyed his time at the helm of MGM.

“The company is strong and growing,” he said. “In my 22 years with MGM Resorts, I’ve accomplished a lot, and I’m proud of the company it has become. Leading MGM Resorts as CEO for the past 12 years has been the most rewarding and fulfilling experience in my professional career.”

Coronavirus “patient zero” tied to hotel in Singapore: A conference room at the Grand Hyatt Singapore has taken on a high level of importance for World Health Organization investigators searching for a so-called “patient zero,” whom Reuters reports is tied to spreading the new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) to five different countries.

The news agency reports the virus’ spread is linked to a meeting held at the property by Servomex, a U.K.-based gas analytics company. One person at that meeting apparently carried the illness, infecting more than a dozen others in attendance.

Officials at the property say they have “cleaned extensively and were monitoring staff and guests for infection but did not know ‘how, where or when’ conference attendees were infected,” Reuters noted.

Wyndham saw flat RevPAR in 2019, expects similar results in 2020: Reporting out its full-year 2019 results, officials with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts are projecting likely tepid revenue growth in 2020. Revenue per available room was virtually flat for the company in year-over-year terms for 2019, going from $40.80 in 2018 to $40.92 in 2019. And the company is projecting RevPAR to be “flat to down 2%” in the new year, according to their earnings release.

In the first week of the coronavirus outbreak, 60 Wyndham hotels in China were closed by government mandate. Those closures peaked over the weekend, with 1,000 properties closed in the country (approximately 900 of those are Super 8 master license franchisees), according to Wyndham President and CEO Geoff Ballotti.

“Hotel closures appear to be stabilizing. We’ve seen approximately 500 hotels reopen over the past several days,” he said. “A majority of the closures resulted from franchisees doing everything they can to protect their team members and prevent the spread of the virus.”

U.S. hotel construction jumps 6.8%: The latest data from Hotel News Now’s parent company STR shows rooms in construction across the U.S. increased 6.8% year over year for January. For the month, there were 208,807 rooms in construction in 1,615 projects.

Construction was predominantly in the upscale (64,945 rooms) and upper midscale (63,528 rooms) segments.

Miami hotels see benefit from cruise growth: While cruises are often viewed as competitors to hotels in the broader lodging space, a report from The Miami Herald highlights hotels in Miami are seeing a boon from increased cruise traffic to the market.

Citing JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group as its source, the newspaper notes that added cruises to Miami are drawing “more foreign investors, development and an increase in room rates” for Miami hotels.

“Most people taking a cruise fly in the day before departure,” said JLL’s Gregory Rumpel. “That’s going to benefit hotels.”

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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