5 things to know: 26 May 2020
 
5 things to know: 26 May 2020
26 MAY 2020 9:38 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Weekend hotel business expected to pick up
  • Massachusetts forms group to reopen hotels, restaurants
  • REIT execs see deals in the future, not in near term
  • $150 billion in coronavirus stimulus left on the table
  • Japanese hotels, universities open to stranded foreigners

Weekend hotel business expected to pick up: Over the past five weeks, hotel occupancy rates have increased since a low of 21% for the week ending 11 April, The Wall Street Journal reports. Frontline workers and homeless people helped boost occupancy over the last several weeks, and as summer weather returns and states loosen restrictions, leisure travelers are expected to make weekend trips at nearby destinations.

People are looking to get out of their homes following weeks of shelter-in-place orders, the article states. Hotels in certain destinations with loosened restrictions are experiencing “sharp increases in weekend business this month.”

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, weekend occupancy reached 72.4% for the week ending 16 May, the newspaper reports, citing data from STR. Hotels in the Florida Panhandle achieved 70.2% occupancy, and those in the Mobile, Alabama, region reported 62.1%. STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.

Massachusetts forms group to reopen hotels, restaurants: Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced the state has created a panel to propose safety guidelines and protocols for restaurants, hotels and the tourism sector as part of the state’s overall reopening plan, Boston.com reports. They are included in the second phase of the plan while attractions such as casino floors, museums, stadiums and performance venues are parts of phases 3 and 4.

The guidelines proposed follow what the Centers for Disease Control have advised, such as having 6 feet between tables in restaurants and not allowing parties of more than 10 people, the article states.

“There’s going to be good signage, there’s going to be a lot of hand washing, there’s going to be masks on employees to start—all those good things that I don’t think is going to shock anybody,” said Bob Luz, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.

REIT execs see deals in the future, not in near term: As the industry has entered a downcycle, executives at real estate investment trusts see opportunities coming in the future to acquire distressed assets, but they are watching the market carefully before making any moves. HNN’s Sean McCracken reports on what these executives had to say during their companies’ latest earnings calls.

“Our expectation is that in the early phases of recovery, there will be an increase in the number of opportunities that would be attractive to us,” Apple Hospitality REIT CEO Justin Knight said. “Our first preference, though, is getting back to cash-positive. I think it would be reasonable for us to assume that while we are eager to pursue opportunities from a capital allocation standpoint, which would drive shareholder value. Our No. 1 priority at this point is getting back to a position where we're producing positive cash flow from operations. Until we get to that point, I think it's fair to say that we would be conservative in pursuing optional uses of cash.”


$150 billion in coronavirus stimulus left on the table: Demand has dropped among small U.S. businesses for federal stimulus programs meant to prop up small firms during the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports. The U.S. Small Business Administration approved $512.2 billion in Paycheck Protection Program loans as of 21 May, which is $150 billion less than the total $660 billion in the program.

“I think it’s a mixture of uncertainty and anxiety and fear, and the uncontrollable factor about employment and rehiring,” said Cynthia Blankenship, president of Bank of the West in Grapevine, Texas.

Japanese hotels, universities open to stranded foreigners: Some hotels and universities in Japan are offering free stays to foreigners unable to return home because their countries have closed borders in response to the pandemic, Kyodo News reports.

The Kaname Inn Tatemachi in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture took out bank loans for 80 million yen ($743,256.11) to allow it to provide this assistance, the news outlet reports. It first offered free accommodations to a Dutch traveler in late March and has been contacted by about 50 groups of foreigners as of mid-May.


Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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