HNN Highlights: Hoteliers and travelers find a way
HNN Highlights: Hoteliers and travelers find a way
29 JUNE 2020 8:12 AM

Hotel News Now editors recap and relay news from across the global hotel industry, with a focus on positive, hopeful and helpful stories our readers might have missed. 

GLOBAL REPORT—This installment of Hotel News Now’s positive industry news highlights some recent stories on how hotels are successfully reopening, and how travelers are finding a way to return to a pastime they love.

Periods of prolonged isolation and static views no doubt have many of us dreaming of different, distant horizons and human connections.

The vistas from picturesque hotels in Italy are certainly dreamlike. Regular HNN contributor Tamara Thiessen manifested those Italian travel dreams in a piece for Forbes that takes into account concerns about health and safety as well as the initiatives some hotels in Italy are taking to address social-distancing and cleanliness requirements.

Americans, at least, will have to continue to dream of Italian vacations, due to travel restrictions, but as HNN’s Terence Baker reports, travel corridors and bubbles across Europe are likely to be dreams come true for the hotel industry in the continent.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., travelers are expected to be road-bound to hotels in drive-to destinations. Offering a picture of that segment, STR research analyst Kelsey Fenerty looked at historic data on the resilience of drive-to travel demand after past crisis-driven downturns. HNN’s Dana Miller delved into hoteliers’ hopes for a similar surge this summer season, and how they have begun to pan out in five warm-weather leisure submarkets in the U.S.

—Robert McCune

Hotel amenities may look different for a while, but hotels are finding ways to embrace the new normal. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shared some photos of how The Iron Horse Hotel is finding ways to incorporate new amenities for guests and employees—like masks and hand sanitizers—without taking away from the hotel’s offbeat vibe and decor. Check out the photo gallery for some inspiration. We’ve heard a lot about how hotels will offer masks and cleaning products and social distancing, but it goes a long way for guests to see what these new practices will look like.

—Stephanie Ricca

Hotels that have offered wedding packages during the coronavirus pandemic aren’t new to HNN Highlights, but one Idaho hotel will award 10 couples whose plans were affected by the virus a replacement wedding experience. The Grove Hotel in Boise, Idaho, will gift 10 winning couples with a ceremony for up to 50 guests, décor, photography, setup and tear-down, cleaning, and a comped roomnight for the newlyweds. The ceremonies will take place in late August. The hotel says the package is valued at $4,500, but in lieu of payment, couples and wedding guests are asked to bring donations for the Idaho Foodbank.

—Dan Kubacki

College town hotels in the U.S. would normally see an influx of corporate or academic-related demand around this time. But colleges and universities are limiting events for alumni and parents, and faculty and staff aren’t traveling as much. Hotel News Now’s Danielle Hess highlighted some ways these properties are getting creative and turning to other sources of demand.

“We’re seeing some schools are using hotel rooms as potential quarantine space and then function space for classrooms,” said Matt Arrants, EVP at Pinnacle Advisory Group, which asset manages four college and university hotels. “In the cases where that’s not happening, where we’ve got extensive meeting space, we’re trying to get social groups, which are a little bit less sensitive to the COVID-19 restrictions … while still meeting the CDC best practices. Where we’ve got really big, extensive meeting space, we can … put 10 people in a room that normally would have had 30 so that they’ll feel comfortable and they can be appropriately socially distanced. Those are the changes (we’ve made) from a revenue standpoint.”

—Dana Miller

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