Big Chains Are Closing Hundreds Of Hotels
With just about all global travel on hold, hundreds of U.S. hotels in Marriott's portfolio "are closing or looking at closing," according to Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson. During a conference call with analysts, he said many of those were "big hotels dependent on groups."
At the property level, contingency plans include shutting food and beverage outlets, reducing staff and "closing floors or even entire hotels," according to a Marriott company statement. "The company has also temporarily deferred most brand standards to help owners and franchisees, including delaying renovations due in 2020 by one year, deferring required furniture, fixtures and equipment funding and suspending brand standard audits."
During a meeting at the White House last week, Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta described similar developments. He told President Donald Trump that most Hilton properties in major cities were temporarily closing.
U.S. lodging industry metrics last week tanked and the worst is yet to come, according to STR. For the week of March 14, occupancy dropped nearly 25 percent year over year, the average daily rate lost 11 percent and revenue per available room fell 33 percent. STR said performance declines "were uniform across chain scales, classes and location types," and that each of the 25 largest markets experienced double-digit occupancy and RevPAR reductions. Negative performance was "especially pronounced" at properties with a focus on meetings and group business. "Through comparative analysis of the occupancy trends in China and Italy over the past weeks, we can with certainty say that we are not yet close to the bottom in the U.S.," according to STR VP Jan Freitag.
Nearly all HR pros surveyed last week said the coronavirus impacted productivity at their organizations productivity. That was up from 64 percent two weeks earlier. Conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, the polls found a growing number of organizations suffering from “high” or “very high” productivity impacts. The first survey included 650 responses; the newer sample was 518 HR pros. "As with all things, there is a flip side to this," according to the newer report. "With frequent business travelers coming in from off the road for an indeterminate amount of time, it seems that removing the distraction of travel is helping some to focus in more effectively on the work at hand."
Lyft and Uber temporarily stopped shared rides. Lyft announced that it "paused" its Shared service and Uber said it suspended the Pool option in the United States, Canada, London and Paris.
Trusted Traveler program enrollment centers suspended operations until at least May 1, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The closure affects enrollments in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Global Entry, Nexus, Sentri, and Fast programs.
TSA will accept expired state-issued identification. Drivers licenses are among the forms of ID that can be still used at airports as long as they did not expire before March 1. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses or state-issued ID "a year after expiration or 60 days after the duration of the emergency, whichever is longer," according to Transportation Security Administration information.
The likelihood of a delayed start for federal Real ID rules "increased dramatically" after multiple requests from lawmakers, according to Eben Peck, EVP at the American Society of Travel Advisors. As it stands, U.S. travelers as of Oct. 1 must show Real ID-compliant identification (or a valid passport) to board commercial flights. Peck also noted current "staffing issues" at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. CNBC reported that New Jersey and Pennsylvania were among states requesting that DHS extend the deadline.
SAP Concur's TripIt made available its premium service for free for six months. Individuals signing up or updating basic memberships by March 31 will get TripIt Pro, which includes price change and real-time flight alerts, and alternate flight options.
Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines ceased all service, according to parent Lufthansa Group. Austrian's grounding is scheduled to run through March 28. Brussels suspended operations until April 19. Etihad, Emirates and Singapore airlines are among the other global carriers announcing plans to halt nearly all service.
Compiled by the editors of TheCompanyDime.com.