5 things to know: 10 July 2019
5 things to know: 10 July 2019
10 JULY 2019 9:29 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Marriott under fire for resort fees
  • Fed chairman seems open to rate cut
  • Seattle’s hotel supply growing despite high labor costs
  • Canadian hotel guests hospitalized from carbon monoxide leak
  • The hottest new hotel amenity: Flight simulators

Marriott under fire for resort fees: For the second time this week, Marriott International faces governmental scrutiny, as the Attorney General of The District of Columbia is suing the company claiming the Marriott’s practice of charging mandatory resort fees is deceptive and illegal, Reuters reports.

“Marriott reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in profit by deceiving consumers about the true price of its hotel rooms,” said District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine, according to the news agency. “Bait-and-switch advertising and deceptive pricing practices are illegal.”

The lawsuit looks to force Marriott to include the fees in advertised room rates. Major online travel agencies have recently adopted practices to try to discourage resort fees, as well.

When asked for comment, Marriott issued a statement to Hotel News Now: “We don’t comment on pending litigation, but we look forward to continuing our discussions with other state AGs.”

Fed chairman seems open to rate cut: The Federal Reserve seems now to be leaning more toward cutting interest rates, with Chairman Jerome Powell signaling a cut might be viable because the economic outlook remains difficult, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In prepared testimony to Congress, Powell said, “it appears that uncertainties around trade tensions and concerns about the strength of the global economy continues to weigh on the U.S. economic outlook.”

Seattle’s hotel supply growing despite high labor costs: Seattle is notorious for its high minimum wage, which can be up to $16 depending on the size of a business, but the overall strength of the market’s economy has been enough to buoy investors’ continued interest in hotel development there, reports HNN contributor Kerry Medina.

The market has enjoyed years of above average revenue-per-available-room growth, even if supply pushed down occupancy slightly in 2018.

But even though workers are so well compensated compared to other markets, finding labor remains a significant hurdle.

“The higher minimum wage is part of the solution, but where these workers can afford to live is also a major consideration and so is getting into the city,” said Visit Seattle President and CEO Tom Norwalk. “Our city and region have continued to expand light rail and bus service, but it’s not as developed or isn’t happening fast enough to really satisfy a lot of people.”

Canadian hotel guests hospitalized from carbon monoxide leak: A total of 46 people were hospitalized related to carbon monoxide poisoning Tuesday at the Super 8 by Wyndham Winnipeg West hotel, USA Today reports. The hotel was occupied by 52 people and a dog when alarms went off and it was evacuated.

Fifteen people were in critical condition, with five unstable and 26 considered stable, according to the report. Early reports indicate the leak might have originated in the hotel’s boiler room.

The hottest new hotel amenity: Flight simulators: While lately all talk about the intersection of hotels and airplanes seems to revolve around the TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport, a Japanese hotel is finding its own way to draw aviation enthusiasts. Kotaku reports The Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyu, which is connected to Haneda International Airport, offers a “superior cockpit room” with a flight simulator based on a Boeing 737-800.

The hotel also lets you “book an afternoon 90-minute block with an instructor for 30,000 yen,” (roughly $275).

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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