5 things to know: 11 January 2021
5 things to know: 11 January 2021
11 JANUARY 2021 10:41 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Chicago hoteliers prepare for tough 2021
  • Economists predict record US job growth in 2021
  • Leisure focus forces a shift in day-of-week trends
  • US businesses pull back on political donations
  • Travelers expected to make ‘last-minute’ trips in 2021

Chicago hoteliers prepare for tough 2021: The demand generated by business meetings helped the Chicago hotel market thrive, but after that demand plummeted during the pandemic, industry experts believe 2021 will be a challenging year for Chicago hotels, even with vaccines, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Ted Mandigo, director of TR Mandigo & Company, told the newspaper that even as the pandemic comes under control, Chicago hotels will struggle to achieve average occupancy of 50% by the end of the year and might achieve 60% in 2022.

Economists predict record U.S. job growth in 2021: Many economists believe the U.S. will add a record number of jobs to the economy this year, but the gains will not be enough to fully offset the losses from the start of the pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reports. The U.S. Department of Labor reported the country experienced a net job loss of 9.4 million in 2020.

Data firm HIS Markit predicts U.S. nonfarm payrolls will grow by 6.7 million by December 2021, while Oxford Economics is forecasting 5.8 million jobs, the newspaper reports. University of Michigan economists project 5.3 million jobs will be added.

“All would put 2021 well ahead of the 4.3 million jobs created in 1946, at the start of the post-World War II expansion, for the best year on record,” the article states. “It would be much less in percentage terms, though, 5% versus 11% in 1946.”

Leisure focus forces a shift in day-of-week trends: The disappearance of corporate and group demand has led hoteliers to focus on the remaining leisure demand, which has created a shift in day-of-week trends, reports HNN’s Danielle Hess.

Hannah Smith, senior consultant at STR, HNN’s parent company, said both the total U.S. and its top 25 markets have seen demand shifting to Thursdays.

“Typically, your strongest days of the week are Tuesday (and) Wednesday for your weekdays because that’s when you have a lot of the business demand, some of that group convention demand, and then Friday (and) Saturday are stronger for leisure demand,” she said.

However, over the last six months, Thursday has been stronger than Tuesday and Wednesday, which is unusual for weekdays, Smith said.

U.S. businesses pull back on political donations: Following the attack on the U.S. Capitol, businesses are pulling back on political donations, some completely and others specifically to those who opposed certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election, the Associated Press reports.

Marriott International is one such company stopping donations to the 147 Republican members of Congress who opposed the certification.

The AP reports “Marriott said Sunday it has taken ‘the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration’ and will be pause political donations to those who voted against certification of the election.”

Travelers expected to make “last-minute” trips in 2021: A new report sponsored by Hotels.com, “The 2021 Upgrade,” found 89% of U.S. travelers plan to be more spontaneous in 2021 after having to cancel trips in 2020, according to a news release. The study found 32% of respondents called 2020 the “lost year” and 35% are more likely to “drop everything” for a vacation this year if they can.

The survey found 28% would take last-minute trips, 26% would take a long-haul trip for a few days and 25% said they would make no plans for the trip itself.

In terms of accommodations, 17% said they would book a “five-star hotel” while traveling this year. Twenty-six percent said they would book a better hotel room than they would have before the pandemic, and 24% would spontaneously say yes to a room upgrade if one was offered during booking.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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