5 things to know: 15 May 2020
5 things to know: 15 May 2020
15 MAY 2020 9:40 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Cities lift restrictions ahead of Memorial Day
  • Hostmark’s buy of RAR positions company for future growth
  • The state of Airbnb and hotels after COVID-19
  • Accor to offer guests online medical consultations
  • Travelers could take advantage of remote destinations

Cities lift restrictions ahead of Memorial Day: As Memorial Day in the U.S. approaches on 25 May, some cities and towns, such as Ocean City, Maryland, and those in the Southwest Florida region, are lifting restrictions on hotel and vacation rentals, USA Today reports.

Ocean City banned hotels, motels and private rental homes from booking non-essential guests in late March to protect visitors and residents. This lodging restriction originally was set to last until 22 May, but city officials pledged to end it if Maryland Governor Larry Hogan lifted his stay-at-home order.

Several hotels in Southwest Florida are reopening for visitors this week, but owners and managers told USA Today they aren’t sure what to expect.

Hostmark execs expect RAR buy to spur growth: Hotel News Now’s Robert McCune spoke with executives at Hostmark Hospitality Group and RAR Hospitality for an inside look at the deal that was announced Thursday.

Hostmark’s acquisition of RAR was negotiated and finalized in late February to early March, just as news of the COVID-19 crisis was spreading, and the valuation of the deal was not announced. Hostmark President and CEO Jerry Cataldo said the buy helps the company to “gain more visibility on the (U.S.) West Coast and gave us some resources located in California from a development and operations standpoint.”

The state of Airbnb and hotels after COVID-19: Home-sharing platform Airbnb has traditionally put pressure on hotel rates and occupancy levels, but hotels might come away with an advantage after COVID-19, The New York Times reports.

Henry Harteveldt, a lodging industry analyst and founder of Atmosphere Research Group, told the newspaper this prediction comes from hotels having a leg up in hygiene and standardized policies with physical distancing.

“As the industry seeks to recover, the contest between hotels and home shares finds both struggling to convince the public that their rooms are virus-free, their terms are fair and their offerings are social-distancing appropriate,” the news outlet writes.

Accor to offer guests online medical consultations: More hotel companies are partnering with third parties to ensure guests they are taking safety and sanitation seriously, with the latest announcement from Accor, Reuters reports.

Accor announced on Friday it has partnered with French insurer AXA to offer guests free access to AXA’s medical network and online consultations, the news outlet reports. The program is expected to begin in July, the two companies said in a statement.

“This initiative combined with our ... enhanced hygiene protocols, will be key to rediscover the love of travel,” Accor Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin said in the statement.

For more on how hotels are partnering with third parties to develop cleaning protocols, read this story at Hotel News Now.

Travelers could take advantage of remote destinations: Amid a ripple in travel behaviors caused by COVID-19, trends that could flourish include vacationing in remote destinations to easily adhere to social distancing, CNN Travel reports.

“Isolated places are going to have a whole new appeal because people are afraid to mix with others and socialize,” said Andrew Steinberg, an advisor at the luxury travel company Ovation Travel. “They want to travel but get away from everyone, and secluded destinations offer the opportunity to do that.”

Compiled by Dana Miller.

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