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Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay Resort to Open December 2020 in China

Accor announces its first Fairmont Resort in Greater China, in partnership with Hainan Keenwin Holdings. The newly refurbished Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay is set to open in December 2020 following extensive renovations to the property.

Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay is situated along the beautiful golden coastline of Haitang Bay. With views towards the diver’s paradise of Wuzhizhou Island and Yajia Daling Mountains, the resort has the best Feng Shui to bring harmony between travellers and nature.

Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay features a team of star designers and architects, which includes world-renowned interior designer Nick Winai Suansalee from Leo Design Group as well as landscape architecture by Francis Leung, the former Design Director of Belt Collins. The resort has the formal symmetry often found in imperial palaces, and offers a number of exquisite architectural gems that are destinations in their own right. In accordance with ancient Chinese architectural principles, a pair of Watchtowers forms the portal to the resort. Covered Lounge Bridges made from stone arches act as pathways to the lobby pavilion, providing rest, shelter and vistas of intricate cornices against the green surrounds. Within the lobby, precious detailed wood carvings on walls and ceiling friezes took more than two years to complete and demonstrate a sense of grandeur and profoundness. Its unique 1,200-meter long river is the world’s first sea water canal running within a hotel. Guests can take a dragon boat ride to reach guestrooms and all other hotel facilities whilst enjoying the ever-changing scenery and amazing landscapes. For those who wish to learn more about the resort’s relics, the Wood Art Gallery is a courtyard house boasting fine furnishings and artefacts from both the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty.

A spokesperson for the Sanya Tourism, Culture, Radio, Television and Sports Bureau said, “Sanya has been instrumental towards the development of Hainan as an international hub of tourism and consumption. The lush tropical paradise has grown its place on the world tourism map with features second to none. As a unique tax-free zone, Sanya will continue to attract the most recognisable international names to join this blessed land. The arrival of Fairmont at Sanya will be a milestone highlight of the year and a prime offering to travellers and locals alike.”

With only an eight-minute drive from Sanya Haitang Bay International Duty-Free Shopping Complex, the resort offers 523 guestrooms and suites as well as residential apartments, with some of these accommodations set within a new Fairmont Gold Tower. Fairmont Gold is the brand’s premier lifestyle concept of a ‘hotel within a hotel’ providing the highest level VIP services for the most discerning leisure and business guests. Contemporary furnishings with generous use of wood, textured carpets, soothing upholstery and soft leather enhance the relaxed elegance of the rooms. The resort is complemented by a distinctive villa area and features a 9-hole golf course.

The resort is home to a number of unforgettable dining destinations. All-day Restaurant Veranda demonstrates its authentic style through interactive dining with a global selection of market-fresh food, highlighting Southeast Asian elements and flamed-barbequed seafood selections. Chinese Restaurant Yuen Court is the place for fine Cantonese cuisine alongside contemporary Hainanese treasures. Ocean Lounge boasts the best panoramic resort vista for an afternoon tea with refreshing ocean breezes or evening drinks and tantalising worldly tapas plates against a stunning seaside setting. Culinary creativity knows no bounds, with unparalleled experiences from personalised themed dining at historic Chinese buildings to a sumptuous river feast, with countless picturesque settings throughout the resort.

Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay’s conference and banquet facilities include a 1,500sqm pillarless ballroom, nine meeting rooms, and a VIP function room, welcoming guests to celebrate special occasions, milestones and other important gatherings amid grand settings. Couples ready to commit can say ‘I do’ in a romantic Chinese inspired wedding pavilion set within a lush tropical garden.

The resort’s leisure amenities include a tranquil Willow Stream Spa, well-appointed Fairmont Fit gym, three outdoor swimming pools, kids’ club with indoor and outdoor play area, and a truly intimate Fairmont Gold Lounge.

“With the roll-out of the masterplan for Hainan Free Trade Port, Hainan Island will create impactful opportunities mostly with tourism services and high-tech industries. It is perfect timing for the arrival of Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay to China’s largest special economic zone, as Hainan continues to transform into a major international trading, financial and shipping center,” said Gary Rosen, Accor Greater China’s Chairman and Chief Operating Officer. “With Fairmont properties already in some of the world’s most famous destinations, the Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay will notably become a focal point of the Island and will exceed our leisure and MICE guests’ expectations with outstanding facilities and services. Turning special moments into lasting memories that could only be found at Fairmont.”

Li Liming, Hainan Keenwin Holdings’ Chairman, said: “We are confident to work with Accor on the operations of our property at Haitang Bay through its iconic luxury brand Fairmont, which is known across the globe for landmark hotels with unrivalled presence. We are very proud of this resort, well situated on Hainan Free Trade Port a unique destination in China. We anticipate that with the expertise of Accor and the brand excellence of Fairmont, we will be able to capture new markets once Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay is launched.”

Fairmont Sanya Haitang Bay will open in December 2020 following extensive renovations to the property. The hotel joins a prestigious collection of some of the world’s most extraordinary hotels including the Fairmont San Francisco, Plaza New York and The Savoy London, both managed by Fairmont; the Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai; Fairmont Banff Springs; Fairmont Ajman; and the Fairmont Century Plaza Los Angeles.


Airbnb to Take the Supermarket Approach for Post-COVID Success

As a hugely successful and globally influential accommodations company, it is only natural that the press has zeroed in on this sharing economy juggernaut during the topsy-turvy news cycle of the COVID pandemic. But just because Airbnb had massive layoffs during the spring months and is pivoting towards long-term rentals does not mean that you should count this entity out as a direct competitor for your ‘traditional’ hotel.

In fact, Airbnb will likely end up leaner and meaner as a multi-purpose accommodations provider by this time next year. To understand why, consider what makes the average consumer opt for going to the supermarket versus a collection of specialized grocers.

True, the platform is still a bit on the ropes, at least as it concerns our brands. Superhosts and their ghost hotel units were devastated by the lockdown as their high monthly fixed costs forced many of them to shift inventory from short-term rentals into the long-term market; and once it’s in this latter pool, a unit is hard to swap back. Many also point to what on paper is the spectacular failure of Airbnb’s experiences vertical. Together, this could be seen as less overall competition for hotels moving forward.

But look closer and you’ll see that this accommodations juggernaut is setting itself up to become a more versatile platform for just about any form of non-purchasable living space a customer could want. This is why the supermarket model works – in a word, convenience.

Some consumers will want to go to their independent fruit market then to an organic butcher followed by a bakery or fromagerie, likely because the goods are of higher quality, made by niche producers and they can interact with trusted personnel to take advantage of their recommendations. But visiting all these separate entities takes time and there is no guarantee that such specialized shops will have everything that a certain individual needs at that exact moment. So, you go to the supermarket to get your fruits, vegetables, meats, bread, cheese and sauces; and just in case you also need more toilet paper, they have that on aisle three.

In this sense, it’s not just about the convenience itself but the guarantee of this convenience. One reason you go to a supermarket is that products that aren’t necessary on the weekly shopping list but are nonetheless available will ‘halo’ back onto whatever items are sought after on that particular shopping day. As ‘the everything store’, Amazon has also derived much of its success from this model in that you can buy books, gardening tools, dried spices and underwear all at the same time and all without leaving your home.

Applying this psychological foundation to Airbnb, the experiences vertical makes perfect sense even if it’s unprofitable on paper for the first few years after launch. The company’s core revenue generator is selling the equivalent of hotel rooms – staying to stay in desirable locations – and, like visiting a supermarket, even just the possibility of also purchasing experience to coincide with a short-term reservation means more customers will be drawn to utilize this platform over others.

Hence, with each new gross functionality added to Airbnb, it has more spokes on its wheel to keep the center cap of short-term accommodations spinning. Therefore, developing a long-term rental platform will benefit the company in the same way as it will mean more eyeballs going to the website and using the app, spurned on by the convenience of ‘one stop shopping’. And once people are comfortable with using the interface to find what they want, new habits will be formed and will be ever-harder to break.

Key for traditional hotels to grasp from all this is that a resurgent Airbnb after COVID will mean even more users on its platform than before the pandemic, which will inevitably result in a revived fight against ghost hotel operators, albeit in a few years once their liquidity has stabilized. Hence, we hoteliers must continue to push for a level playing field once the more immediate concerns of reshuffling our operations to meet the demands of the next normal are addressed.

Furthermore, consider how the supermarket analogy can work to your brand’s favor. If your primary business is derived from selling rooms product, then what ancillary services can you add to halo back onto this central revenue generator? This will be an interesting question to answer in the immediate pandemic aftermath as many costly operations that would give you this halo in a conventional sense – like a spa or restaurant – may no longer motivate guests, at least in the near-term. Remember to look for features or amenities that are relatively inexpensive, even when poorly utilized by guests, but will help draw people to consider your property in any top-of-funnel search.

All told, Airbnb is here to stay and is working to swiftly adapt to the challenges presented by COVID so that this lodging platform remains a competitor for traditional hotel brands for many years to come. For your hotel, there are many things you can learn from this company so that you are better prepared to capitalize upon the post-pandemic travel surge with the supermarket model being just one of them.


Radisson Hotel Group announces the introduction of two new brands joining forces under one roof at London Heathrow

This property is the first Radisson branded hotel in the United Kingdom.

The wing of the property has a total of 258 rooms, showcasing the Radisson RED design. The remaining 600 rooms follow the Scandinavian style of the Radisson brand, paying homage to the traditions of the hotel group.

The restaurants, lounges and bars shared by the two hotels provide a welcoming space to relax. The meeting and large event spaces are flexible and can accommodate groups and needs of different sizes. The hotel has two multifunctional conference centers and 41 meeting rooms, including 21 meeting rooms for unions or work groups. The property also offers a Pace Leisure Club, which has a gym, swimming pool, sauna and steam room.

Tom Flanagan Karttunen, Senior Vice President Northern and Western Europe of the Radisson Hotel Group, said, “The introduction of two dynamic new brands at such a major international airport is extremely exciting. This is our first Radisson and the second Radisson RED hotel to open in the UK, which is a significant milestone for the company. The thorough transformation of the property meets the ever changing and growing needs of our diverse clientele”.


Opening of a Moxy Hotel in Hamburg

Moxy Hotels are known for being trendy, comfortable, and affordable, so they mainly target the new generation of travellers who are more value for money sensitive.

In September, the well-known lifestyle brand developed by Marriott opened at the “Berliner Tor” S-Bahn station, close to Hamburg’s historic city centre. The hotel has 291 rooms and is operated by the Swiss company SV Hotel. SV Hotel regularly works as a franchise partner of the Marriott International Group.

The city’s economy is based primarily on its harbour and on the development of the HafenCity business area. However, the city also benefits from its tourist attractiveness, particularly thanks to event tourism and cruise passengers. The development of Hamburg is an advantage for the setting up of new brands and new hotel concepts, such as the following openings: the 236-room NYX Hamburg hotel in 2020, or the NH Hamburg Zentrum hotel in 2021 and NIU hotels in 2022. In addition, another Moxy hotel, the 220-room Moxy Hamburg Altona hotel, is due to open in the first half of 2021.

Hamburg’s hotels are performing well, so, as an indication, the occupancy rate reached 78.8% in 2018, while the average daily rate was around €117 the same year.

Hotel industry facing historic wave of foreclosures

Vicky Karantzavelou / 20 Aug 2020

WASHINGTON – A new national report shows that the hotel industry is facing a historic wave of foreclosures as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate small business hotel owners and its workforce. Since the beginning of the pandemic the hotel segment has faced a historic number of delinquencies and is the most heavily hit sector of the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market. Nearly 4,000 hotel industry leaders sent an urgent letter to Congress urging immediate action to help hotels avoid foreclosure and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

The report, compiled by Trepp, shows that the percentage of loans that is 30 or more days delinquent is 23.4 percent as of last month—the highest percentage on record. By comparison, the percentage of hotel loans that were 30 or more days delinquent at the end of 2019 was 1.3 percent.

From a financial perspective, the report shows that $20.6 billion in hotel CMBS loans were 30 or more days delinquent as of July, compared to $1.15 billion as of December 2019. The highest volume of delinquent hotel loans during the Great Financial Crisis was $13.5 billion. The current percentage of loans that are delinquent now exceeds the highest level during the Great Financial Crisis by 53 percent.

In the letter sent to Congress today, nearly 4,000 hotel industry leaders implored Congress to swiftly enact the HOPE Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Representatives Van Taylor (R-Texas), Al Lawson (D-Fla.), and Andy Barr (R-Ky.), intended to provide assistance to small businesses that operate in the ailing commercial real estate market.

With record low travel demand, thousands of hotels can’t afford to pay their commercial mortgages and are facing foreclosure with the harsh reality of having to close their doors permanently. Tens of thousands of hotel employees will lose their jobs and small business industries that depend on these hotels to drive local tourism and economic activity will likely face a similar fate,” stated Chip Rogers, President and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). “The hotel industry strongly supports The HOPE Act to give struggling small business hotels an opportunity to keep their doors open and avoid foreclosure. We urge the immediate passage of this legislation so America’s tourism industry can survive and recover when the public health crisis subsides.

Rogers said the HOPE Act would address the unique challenges of commercial real estate. It would provide commercial property owners the temporary liquidity they need to keep their doors open in exchange for a preferred equity interest in the property. The legislation would not require any new funding and would utilize existing appropriations from the CARES Act Economic Stabilization Fund.

Other major hotel industry leaders expressed an urgency for Congress to step up to help struggling hotel businesses before it is too late. 

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is decimating the travel and tourism sector – especially small businesses like hotels. That’s why we need Congress to provide hotel owners with real relief that addresses the needs of small businesses with commercial real estate assets,” said Cecil Staton, President and CEO of AAHOA. “Hoteliers are responsible for millions of jobs in communities across the nation, but unless Congress acts, there may not be businesses left for those workers to return to at the end of this pandemic. We are optimistic that the HOPE Act will help hoteliers to address the debt crisis facing the lodging industry, and save good American jobs and small businesses.

Our hotel industry has been devastated by the effects of COVID-19. The financial assistance through the HOPE Preferred Equity lending facility would provide relief and could help stimulate the economic situation in communities throughout the United States,” said Lynette Montoya, President and CEO of the Latino Hotel Association (LHA).

The HOPE Act is essential in helping provide hotel owners with liquidity when we need it most and will serve to help keep businesses open, thus saving local jobs,” said Andy Ingraham, President and CEO of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators, and Developers (NABHOOD).


9 Good Questions to Ask at The End of an Interview

by Maria Rubio | Aug 13, 2020

We all know that every hiring manager waits until the end of an interview to ask if you have any questions about the job or company. It’s vital that you prepare a few questions beforehand to show that you’re interested in the opportunity, and it also allows you to further engage and impress the recruiter. Remember, an interview is not only a window to sell yourself, but it’s also time to gather information. To help you make a smarter career decision, we’ve gathered 9 good questions that you can ask at the end of an interview:

1) What’s It Like to Work Here?

This is the perfect place to start. It gives you an honest insight into the company culture, and it also gives the hiring manager the opportunity to win you over. Understanding the company culture before you start working there is vital because you’ll spend countless hours sharing and interacting with your colleagues. If you don’t like the company culture, you’re going to have a hard time getting used to the workplace.

2) Which Are the Most Important Qualities for Someone to Excel in This Role?

This is definitely a tricky question! The reason? The recruiter will probably give you a list of skills needed to succeed in the job you’re being interviewed for, but the question can also be redirected to you. Be prepared to give a professional answer to show you’re capable of succeeding in the role thanks to your expertise and skills.

3) What Are the Expectations of This Role?

The company might post an overview of this information along with the job description. However, it’s always good to find out exactly what they’re expecting you to deliver during the first six to twelve months. 

4) What Are the Day-To-Day Responsibilities in This Position?

Knowing this will help you decide if you really want the job. Some positions may appear ideal at first glance, but they could actually involve doing a lot of things that you may dislike or don’t feel prepared for. Asking this also shows the recruiter that you care about what’s essential: the actual work that you’re going to be doing on a daily basis.

5) Who Are the Company’s Top Competitors?

This is something you should research beforehand, nevertheless it’s always nice to hear from someone that works in the company. The hiring manager might give you an answer that differs from your research and that could be a great topic to continue the conversation.

6) What Are Some of the Current Challenges Facing the Company?

Asking this shows that you want to get to grips with what’s going on in the company, and will also reveal more about the stability of the business. If you’re fast on your feet, you can turn the question around and tell the recruiter how your skills can help overcome the challenges.

7) What’s the Company’s Dress Code?

Very important! You don’t want to arrive at your first day of work looking underdressed. Ask the hiring manager, if there is a dress code you should follow, and make sure you stick to it. You never get a second chance to make a first impression! If you’re unsure of what to wear, check out our breakdown of the four levels of business attire here.

8) Are There Opportunities for Professional Development in the Company?

If you want to develop in your career, you have to make sure the company you’re going to work for will offer you opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge. They may offer you the chance to attend workshops, conferences or seminars. If the company doesn’t really take into consideration your professional development, then it may not be the best fit for you.

9) What Are the Next Steps of the Hiring Process?

Last but not least, you should always ask about the next steps of the interview process or when you might hear back from them. This is a useful question that can give you a timeframe and find out how many rounds of interviews you’ll have to complete.

We can’t reiterate how crucial it is to ask good questions at the end of the interview, if you don’t, you’ll appear uninterested or unmotivated. Also, remember to avoid asking about the basic aspects of the company and leave vacations or immediate changes to your schedule to the side. Now that you have these nine impressive questions to ask the recruiter at the end of your interview, you’re bound to succeed!


Atari Wants to Build Video Game-Themed Hotels

The first hotel will break ground later this year in Phoenix, Arizona. Another is being planned for Las Vegas. They promise to offer Atari-themed lodging, along with lots of video gaming experiences.

Michael Kan – January 28, 2020 

Atari Interactive thinks it has an idea to rekindle interest in the gaming brand: It wants to build Atari-themed hotels.

On Monday, the company announced it was partnering with a design agency to build at least eight video-gamed themed Atari Hotels in the US with the first one slated to break ground in Phoenix, Arizona later this year.

The idea is certainly unconventional, but Atari says the concept will connect with the public at a time when the market for gaming is exploding. Not only will the hotels provide Atari-themed lodging, but also lots of video gaming, including the latest VR and augmented reality experiences. In addition, some of the hotels will be designed to host esports events.

“Together we’ll build a space that will be much more than just a place to stay,” Atari CEO Fred Chesnais said in a statement. “Atari is an iconic global brand that resonates with people of all ages, countries, cultures and ethnic backgrounds and we cannot wait for our fans and their families to enjoy this new hotel concept.”

According to Atari, a design agency called GSD Group and movie producer Napoleon Smith III, who was behind the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot films, will manage the hotels’ designs. Meanwhile, the Arizona-based real estate developer True North Studio will handle actual construction of the first building.

Additional hotels are planned for Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Austin and San Jose. Interested customers can sign up at the website to stay up-to-date on the project.

In the meantime, Atari Interactive is preparing to launch a new retro-themed console. The Atari VCS is slated to start shipping in March starting at $249, and will let you play 100 classic pre-installed Atari games in addition to modern PC games.


Accor signs 14 new northern European hotels during first half of 2020

Breaking Travel News – Aug 17, 2020

Despite a challenging first half of the year for the global hospitality industry, hotel giant Accor has signed 14 new properties in Europe during the last six months.

These include four in the UK and Ireland, six in Belgium and four in the Netherlands.

The new signings will collectively add well over 2,000 rooms to the company’s portfolio in the region.

The four signings in the UK and Ireland include the first Fairmont in Ireland, one Tribe, one Mercure and an ibis Budget.

In the luxury division, the historic Carton House is the newly signed Fairmont Hotel situated just outside Dublin.

Accor has also signed Tribe Manchester Airport, a 412-room franchised new build hotel.

This is the second Tribe hotel to be signed in northern Europe this year and marks the expansion of an existing relationship with the owners of ibis Budget Luton and the ibis Budget projects at Manchester and Heathrow Airport.

Tribe Manchester Airport is set to open in 2022.

The first half of the year also saw ten new signings in Benelux, with six important signings in Belgium.

In the first quarter, Belgium welcomed a new brand to northern Europe with the signing of an 83-room Novotel Living, an extended stay brand, at Brussels Airport.

In the second quarter, Benelux saw four new signings in the Netherlands.

The 192-room Tribe Amsterdam North and 110-room Mercure Amsterdam North are both set to open in 2021.

The 137-room Mercure Rotterdam Airport and the 136-room ibis Styles Rotterdam Airport are also due to open next year.

Phillip Lassman, vice president of development, Accor northern Europe, explained: “The first half of the year has posed a unique set of challenges for Accor and the hospitality industry as a whole.

“However, the strength of our proposition remains and through the dedication of the Accor team and hard work of our partners we have delivered an outstanding set of development results, with 14 new signings collectively adding over 2,000 rooms to our network in the past six months.”


Coronavirus: Hotels and Airbnb plan ‘fundamental shift’ after COVID-19 lockdowns

By Lauren Chadwick

last updated: 08/05/2020

As lockdown restrictions are eased in several European countries, many in the travel industry hope that with higher cleaning standards and social distancing, business can continue in a new form.

Nicolas Vigier, whose agency manages 60 Airbnb apartments, says he’s slowly seeing demands come in for summer rentals in the south of France.

“Before the crisis, our clients were 90 to 95 per cent foreigners. We had very few French people booking our apartments,” Vigier said.

But now his demand is entirely from France.

Domestic Airbnb reservations in the Netherlands and Denmark are at 80 per cent and 90 per cent respectively of what they were in April 2019, the company said.

Vigier said in France they cannot confirm reservations since people are not yet allowed to travel further than 100 kilometres from their homes.

But the demand is a glimmer of hope for an industry that’s been one of the hardest hit due to the pandemic.

Source: The Conversation (2020)

‘Severe and sudden impact’

“Airbnb’s business has been hit hard, with revenue this year forecasted to be less than half of what we earned in 2019,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive, as he announced staffing cuts at the company this past week.

For many, the change to business was abrupt. It wasn’t until the French government announced the lockdown measures mid-March that Vigier saw a significant drop in demand for Airbnb apartments, he said.

Hotel data benchmarking firm STR estimates that hotels that are still open globally are at less than 30% occupancy. In many European countries, the few hotels that are still open are only at 10 per cent occupancy.

Marriott hotel CEO Arne Sorenson said in a sobering video message in March that the coronavirus was “nothing like we’ve ever seen before.”

“For a company that’s 92 years old, that’s borne witness to the Great Depression, World War II, and many other economic and global crises, that’s saying something,” he added.

“COVID-19 is having a more severe and sudden impact on our business than 9/11 and the 2009 financial crisis combined.”

Marriott saw a 90 per cent decline in business in China after the outbreak started, the CEO said in March.

Restoring customer trust in a global crisis

Airbnb has announced a new cleaning protocol for hosts that will launch in May that includes a learning and certification programme.

The protocol will also help to space out reservations in line with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to have 24 hours between people entering a room.

“Hosts will have access to expert-backed cleaning educational materials and will be supported to show that they take cleanliness and prevention seriously,” Airbnb said in a statement.

These new guidelines will be most “drastic” change to their daily work, said Vigier. It means they will have to have three days between reservations.

Hotels are instituting similarly stringent cleaning policies.

A spokesperson for Marriott said the hotel was adding to its cleaning protocols including “requiring that public space and guest room surfaces are thoroughly treated with hospital-grade disinfectants.”

The company is also testing “electrostatic sprayers” to disinfect entire guest areas.

“The concern seems to be around rebuilding consumer confidence and trust,” said Mark Ashton at the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

It will depend on “enhanced cleaning standards” and a “reduction of touch points” such as tablets or remote controls.

Whether someone picks a hotel or Airbnb, “depends on trust with the consumer as to whether they perceive that a hotel chain or independent hotel as perhaps going to be more reliable at delivering a higher level of cleanliness and sanitation,” said Ashton.

A potential recovery?

A spokesperson for Airbnb France said that there had been an increase in people on the website investigating spring and summer holidays close to home.

“Travel in this new world will look different, and we need to evolve Airbnb accordingly. People will want options that are closer to home, safer, and more affordable,” Airbnb CEO Chesky wrote in a note to employees.

Meanwhile, Marriott International said they were slowly seeing an increase in occupancy rates in China, including during an April holiday, where some hotels reached 60% occupancy.

But it will be a long time before things go back to normal.

“It will take a period of time for things to bounce back,” said Ashton. But there’s “a potential that hotels will consider increased automation and a move to digital” which might “speed up the adoption of those types of technology”.

It’s an area where Airbnb already has an advantage due to the ability to check in with an application and be in contact with a host via messaging instead of in person.

Vigier said they used to have someone greet every guest who stayed in an apartment, but it will be an easy change to allow guests to pick up keys in a box or at their agency.

In a crowded hotel, it could be more difficult.

“Do we have robots doing certain things, maybe taking bags, room service, sanitising areas?” asked Ashton.

He expects that digital changes hotels were expecting to implement anyway will happen more quickly.

“There’s going to be some fairly fundamental shifts,” Ashton said.


Airbnb and Vrbo Significantly Outperformed the Hotel Industry But for How Long?

Cameron Sperance, Skift- Aug 14, 2020

Short-term rentals may be outperforming the hotel industry through the peak summer leisure season, but a fall downturn in family vacations could extend the drag on performance to platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo.— Cameron Sperance

While much of the global economy continues to reel from the catastrophic impact of coronavirus, at least one hospitality sector is enjoying a degree of the V-shaped recovery so many economists predicted — or at least hoped for.

Short-term rentals on services like Airbnb generally performed better than similar quality hotel competitors, according to an STR and AirDNA study of 15 urban markets and 12 regional destinations around the world. Revenue per available room — the hotel industry’s key performance metric — was down nearly 65 percent at hotels at the end of June.

But the performance indicator was only down by about 5 percent at short-term rentals.

“It was kind of a perfect storm of factors that hit hotels disproportionately than short-term rentals,” said Patrick Mayock, vice president of research and development at STR.

The report shouldn’t be seen as a total swan song for the global hotel industry.

The caveat to the short-term rental performance narrative is hotels in certain leisure and drive-to markets have generally performed close to 2019 levels, showing travelers still crave hotel stays.

Hyatt sold out hotels on China’s Hainan Island during the country’s first major post-lockdown holiday. Markets like Panama City Beach, Florida, have even seen average hotel occupancies approach 90 percent at points over the summer. Choice Hotels leaders touted the company’s relatively small $2.4 million second quarter loss to the fact their portfolio is based largely on drive-to and leisure hotels.

But hotels rely on more than summer and holiday leisure traffic.

Business transient and group business travel historically kept the hotel sector at performance levels well above those of short-term rentals. But coronavirus effectively zapped both business lines for most of 2020 and tanked hotel performance while short-term rentals seized the outperformance crown.

The study, conducted between January 2019 and the end of June of this year, focused on entire-unit short-term rentals on Airbnb and Vrbo.

Hotel occupancy across the studied markets — which include places like New Orleans, Rome, and Australia’s Gold Coast — bottomed at nearly 18 percent the week of March 28. Short-term rental occupancy hit a low of just over 34 percent. But the short-term rental sector’s revenue per room (or unit) durability has more to do with rental rates staying close to normal levels.

While average daily rates at hotels fell 50 percent from the end of March 2019 to the end of March this year, they were only down between 6 and 12 percent at short-term rentals of various sizes. This stems largely from the leisure traffic flocking to Airbnb and Vrbo never fully going away.

“In truth, vacation rentals are simply becoming the preferred lodging type in an ongoing era of social distancing,” said Tom Caton, chief revenue officer at AirDNA. “The amenities, the ability to cook, the ability to rent entire-home listings, the supply in remote locations, the availability of larger, 2+ bedroom properties that accommodate entire families — all this points towards vacation rentals rebounding, even given the current state of the world.”

There are still uncertain variables ahead for both hotels and short-term rentals.

There are only a few more weeks left in what would normally be the peak summer travel season, and it isn’t clear yet how much leisure travel will extend into the fall. Continued remote work and school learning could enable travelers to continue flocking to drive-to and leisure markets.

But hybrid in-person, remote working, and education models could hinder how much travel continues into September and beyond.

“The real question is, what happens on September 15th, post-Labor Day?” said Evan Weiss, chief operating officer at LW Hospitality Advisors. “How are these properties performing at that point given the contraction in leisure and the lack of corporate transient and group travel? I’d imagine they will be somewhat similar to hotels in these markets: rather dismal occupancies. We will all have to wait and see, as there is no clarity on next week, let alone the fall travel season.”