5 things to know: 20 May 2020
5 things to know: 20 May 2020
20 MAY 2020 9:27 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • AHLA: 84% of hotels have layoffs and furloughs
  • Benchmark acquires Westroc
  • Brand CEOs want collaboration on the recovery
  • US hotels record worst April ever
  • Worries of virus mutation rising in China

AHLA: 84% of hotels have layoffs and furloughs: A new survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association highlights the high rate of unemployment for hotel industry workers in the U.S., with 84% of respondents saying they’ve laid off or furloughed workers due to COVID-19. Roughly two-thirds of hotels are at less than 50% of their previous staffing levels, the survey notes.

But only 37% have been able to use relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program to rehire. A majority don’t expect to be at pre-crisis staffing levels until the end of this year or later, with 14% expecting to rehire by 31 December and 38% expecting an even longer timetable.

Benchmark acquires Westroc: A push for consolidation among third-party operators continues as Benchmark announced the acquisition of Arizona-based Westroc Hotels & Resorts, which had two properties in the Scottsdale, Arizona, area: Hotel Valley Ho and Mountain Shadows Resort Scottsdale, according to a news release. No price was announced for the deal.

This represents a return to the experiential and unique destinations market for Benchmark.

“The Westroc team has created two exceptional resorts that fit perfectly into Benchmark, and the teams we’ve connected with already are a welcome addition to the Benchmark family,” Benchmark CEO Alex Cabañas said in the release.

Brand CEOs want collaboration on the recovery: Hotel brands won’t be able to navigate the eventual recovery on their own, with many CEOs speaking at the “In Sync” online conference saying it will depend on relationships with owners, guests and third parties, HNN’s Terence Baker writes.

Radisson Hotel Group President and CEO Federico González said how his company works with its owner community is critical.

“Everyone is really focused, and that is helpful, and we have to have flexibility to change some contract terms in the short term. … We have found support and understanding, and real partnerships,” González said.

U.S. hotels record worst April ever: The latest data from HNN’s parent company, STR, shows U.S. hotels saw the lowest recorded levels for both occupancy and revenue per available room in April and the lowest average daily rate since 1997.

Occupancy fell 63.9% year over year to 24.5%, while ADR was down 44.4% to $73.23 and RevPAR plummeted 79.9% to $17.93.

With four consecutive weeks of demand increases now recorded, though, STR analysts are hopeful the industry “likely reached the bottom in early April.”

Worries of virus mutation rising in China: The coronavirus may be “changing in unknown ways” based on how it’s presenting in a new cluster of cases in northeast China, which would complicate “efforts to stamp it out,” Bloomberg reports.

The news outlet notes Chinese authorities say patients in the Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces “appear to carry the virus for a longer period of time and take longer to test negative.” They also appear to be taking longer than one to two weeks to show symptoms after being infected.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.

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