In this week’s roundup of news from the Americas region: Managing increased cleaning costs; tackling racial bias in the industry; people on the move and more.
Hotel News Now each week features a news roundup from a different region of the world. Today’s review covers the Americas.
Hoteliers grapple with higher cleaning costs
With lower demand causing less cash flow, hoteliers are required to be strategic in managing the increased costs of new cleaning and safety protocols enacted in response to the pandemic, writes Hotel News Now contributor Danny King.
Davidson Hotels & Resorts COO Pete Sams said that while the time to clean a room between stays is up about 20% and more labor is being committed to keeping lobbies and other public areas disinfected, he estimated that direct expenses will rise between 5% and 7% for 2020.
Black hoteliers call for direct action on racial bias
HNN’s Danielle Hess reports that the hotel companies must shift thinking and incentivize executives at the top to hire more Black talent across the board, according to Black leaders, because the hotel industry has a disproportionality small number of Black people in executive roles.
Hotel leaders must also have uncomfortable conversations to change the behavior, sources said. Not only have Blacks been held back in the country as a whole, but also in the industry, said Tracy Prigmore, founder of property management company TLT Solutions, during an ISHC forum titled “Black leadership in hospitality: What leading consultants need to know.”
“African Americans, Blacks are systemically held back from generating wealth, and it's the wealth that allows you to be able to invest in hotels. And then when you get to a point where you're invested in hotels and you're an owner, you make those decisions as to who gets hired in these executive positions, and usually … we go to our network,” she said.
Hotel developers look for guidance as brands go ‘AWOL’
HNN’s Bryan Wroten reports some hotel developers in the U.S. aren’t quite sure how to move forward with projects in their pipeline, according to hoteliers speaking on the “Evolving development strategies” session of the ALIS Summer Update-Dallas online conference.
LodgeCap Chairman and CEO Billy Brown said his company opened one hotel recently and expects to open two more by the end of 2020. Although the company has another four properties in the pipeline, he expects to only start work on one of them, at best, Wroten writes.
Brown added that the brands have been “pretty AWOL” for developers.
Caribbean, LatAm reopening presents challenges, rewards
Hotels and resorts in the Caribbean and Latin America are starting to reopen, and hoteliers are mostly optimistic that the region’s appeal will help boost demand, writes HNN’s Dan Kubacki.
On the “CHRIS/HOLA 6x8: Recovery top of mind episode 2” webinar hosted by the BHN Group, Playa Hotels & Resorts’ Chairman and CEO Bruce Wardinski said his company plans to reopen its Dominican Republic resorts in late July while his Mexico and Jamaica properties reopened 1 July. Playa’s portfolio has been closed since mid-March. He added that the all-inclusive labor model is “better-suited” to operate amid and after COVID-19.
“For example, elevators: Every hotel anywhere in the world is going to have to be going in every hour and wiping down the elevator,” Wardinski said. “Well, we do that every hour anyway because people are coming in with wet feet and sand. We’re probably doing our elevators every half hour to begin with. In many ways, the fact that we are labor-intensive is helpful to us.”
Deals, developments, people on the move
- Extended Stay America announced 1 July the opening of the 124-room Extended Stay America Austin in Austin, Texas. The hotel is within minutes of the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.
- Rockbridge opened the 212-room boutique Emeline hotel in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on 1 July.
- The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska, appointed Mara Bouvier as GM and James Schelnick as director of sales and marketing. The hotel is set to open in August.
- Louisville-based 21c Museum Hotels appointed founding partner Sarah Robbins to lead the company effective 15 July, following Craig Greenberg stepping down as president and CEO.
- The 145-room Kimpton Brice Hotel in Savannah’s Historic District appointed Xavier Etcheberrigaray as GM.
- Hotel Equities has been appointed to manage three Marriott-branded hotels in Atlanta. The three hotels are owned by Neil Patel.
- The 591-room Grand Hyatt Nashville, which is expected to open September 2020, has appointed Johannes Diele as director of convention services; Chris Gallatin as director of engineering; David Hearst as director of revenue; Allyson Hoyer as director of rooms; Rachelle Iler as director of sales; William Lee as director of finance; Gideon Packianathan as director of human resources; Zachary Parks as assistant director of finance; and Evan Zimmer as director of catering.
- Radisson Hotel Tapatio Guadalajara opened in Mexico following a $2-million renovation.
Compiled by Dana Miller.