5 things to know: 12 February 2020
5 things to know: 12 February 2020
12 FEBRUARY 2020 10:30 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Hilton outlines coronavirus impact
  • Coronavirus continues to impact cruise in Japan
  • Sydney sees big performance drop
  • Marriott leads the way in hotel Bibles
  • Fed chair warns he lacks ammo to fight recession

Hilton outlines coronavirus impact: Officials with Hilton said they’ve closed 150 hotels in China because of the spread of the coronavirus through the country, HNN’s Stephanie Ricca reports. The World Health Organization just recently named the disease COVID-19.

President and CEO Chris Nassetta said there will be an impact on Hilton’s net unit growth, although it’s not like all business will come to a screeching halt. (HNN is a division of STR, a CoStar Group company. Nassetta serves on CoStar Group’s Board of Directors.)

“We’ve already delivered 1,500-plus rooms in China this year,” he said. “There are parts of China that are still business as usual in terms of deliveries.”

Coronavirus continues to impact cruise in Japan: A quarantined cruise ship in Japan now has a total of 175 people infected with the coronavirus onboard, including one quarantine officer, Reuters reports. The British-flagged Diamond Princess has been held in quarantine in Yokohama since 3 February.

The report notes there are roughly 3,700 people aboard the chip, with a crew of 1,100 and a passenger capacity of 2,670.

Sydney sees big performance drop: Preliminary data from STR, parent company of HNN, shows a 6.8% year-over-year drop in revenue per available room for Sydney in January as Australian markets continue to cope with the impact of bushfires, as well as supply growth. January marked the 25th consecutive month of falling occupancy in Sydney, as it fell 4.9% to 75.7%.

Preliminary data on Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, shows a 19.6% jump up in RevPAR for January tied to the timing of the mid-year school break. London saw tepid RevPAR growth of just 0.6% as the market continues to absorb new supply.

Marriott leads the way in hotel Bibles: A new report from The Washington Post notes more hotel brands are shying away from having in-room Bibles, in part because of broader shifts in amenities.

Brands “are doing a better job of identifying the mission-critical amenities,” Mehmet Erdem, a professor at University of Nevada at Las Vegas, told the newspaper.

But The Post notes Marriott International is a “notable exception” in the shift, as the company still continues to require almost all of its 30 brands to offer the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Fed chair warns he lacks ammo to fight recession: While the continued low-interest-rate environment has been viewed as a positive for most businesses, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell plans to warn the U.S. Senate Wednesday that the Fed has relatively few levers to pull in the case of a recession, Bloomberg reports.

In remarks to the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday, Powell noted Congress must be prepared to take action in that circumstance because already low interest rates “means that it would be important for fiscal policy to support the economy if it weakens.”

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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