Hotel industry leaders hoping for spike in summer travel – Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather


If you’ve set foot in side the Outrigger Resort in Waikiki, you’ll notice social distancing, touchless elements and plexiglass at check-in, and enhanced cleaning in rooms. Along with masks in common areas, Hawaii has been setting an example when it comes

Wednesday, May 5th 2021, 6:10 PM HST by Tom George

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Derby Hotel Occupancy Economic Impact Tourism Travel

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When it comes to tourism in the Derby City, things are still far from normal.

What You Need To Know

  • ‘Louisville Tourism’ expects Louisville’s economic impact from Derby to fall just below $35 million
  • Hotel occupancy is rising, with The Galt House seeing at least an 85% occupancy rate for Derby
  • Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport expects about 14,500 arrivals between Wednesday and Friday, half of 2019 numbers
  • The Kentucky Derby is the largest economic impact event of the year for Louisville

However, tourism industry experts say things are improving. Kentucky Derby 147 is projected to bring in less than a fourth of the economic impact a “good year” would do for Louisville. However, folks are celebrating an increasing hotel occupancy and number of flights into the city.

The Galt House is one hotel steadily ramping-up operations. It’s the largest hotel in Kentucky, with more than 1,300 rooms; Skip James said at least 1,100 are booked. It’s about 85% occupied, and that’s huge considering how COVID-19 shuttered the hospitality industry.

“Those feelings are coming back, of what it’s like to have a busy hotel,” James beamed. 

He’s worked in sales and marketing for AJS Hotels, which manages Galt House and two other hotels, for long enough to experience three Derby seasons. 

“To have an event that’s bigger than your hotel or bigger than what you’re specifically doing in your venue…there’s a celebration in the air,” James says. 

Usually, his hotels are booked months before now, but he’s happy to compare Derby 147 to Derby 146. That is, a tremendous step toward “normal” from last September, when Derby 146 moved from its usual May date. The number of spectators was limited, which meant far fewer hotel guests then.

He’s hopeful things are on the upswing, now, as travel officials are. At Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, the number of passengers has been increasing since pandemic brought things to nearly a halt.

“It’s about 1,000 seats more than the week prior, so there is definitely an increase specific to that Derby travel period. And again, it definitely is looking better than where we were in 2020,” said Public Relations Director Natalie Chaudoin. 

Chaudoin expects at least 14,500 arrivals from Wednesday through Friday ahead of Derby day. That’s about half the activity leading into Derby 145, in 2019, pre-pandemic. To Chaudoin, it means things are “in recovery from the pandemic.”

Although business pales in comparison to things pre-pandemic, Louisville Tourism’s CEO chooses to see it “glass half-full,” marking progress amid the pandemic.

“I am very very optimistic about the future,” said Karen Williams, “I mean, just to stand here with you today saying that we are going to have Derby, and the world feels so much better from a visitor perspective.”

Williams says The Derby, in a “good year,” brings in about $200 million for Louisville in economic impact. She expects this year will bring in more like $35 million. 

Even so, James is just one of the hotels trying to get back to business as normal. He’s been hiring back the staff laid-off during the thick of COVID-19. There have been job fairs, but he says employees have been hard to bring back. It’s part of the hospitality industry’s next struggle.

“If you know anybody looking for work, we have plenty of openings. And that’s, that’s been the theme as well, is really finding the staff in order for us to take care of the demand,” James pleads.


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Hotel Industry Pushes New U.S. Legislation for Payroll Grants

New legislation that would provide U.S. hotel owners and operators direct federal grants to rehire laid-off workers was set to be introduced in the U.S. House and Senate Wednesday, drawing the enthusiastic support of both the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Unite Here, the union that represents tens of thousands of U.S. and Canadian hospitality workers. 

The bill, called the Save Hotel Jobs Act, was set to be introduced in the Senate by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and in the House by Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.). It would allow the U.S. Treasury Department to distribute funds to hotel owners and operators that must be used for payroll, including a mandatory offer to rehire workers laid off amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This legislation is the most important thing we’ve done to be able to get these workers back in their jobs,” AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers said Wednesday during a media conference call. 

According to the text of the bill, hotel owners and operators could apply for a grant of three times its average monthly payroll over a three-month period in 2019, or $20 million, whichever is lower. That figure also would be lowered if the hotel received funding under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

Recipients would be required to use the funding exclusively for payroll costs and to offer “to the laid-off employees of the hotel supported by the grant all positions which become available after the owner or operator receives funding under this section for which the laid-off employees are qualified,” according to the text of the bill.

Should hotels do otherwise, the Treasury Department would have the right to claw back the funding. The bill provides for the possibility of additional grants should a hotel’s business not recover after the initial grant.

“This is not a handout,” said Unite Here president D. Taylor during the Wednesday call. “It is a way to have a bridge” to a future when busines travel and large conventions return, he said.

Rogers noted a recent “uptick” in U.S. leisure travel, which he called “wonderful,” but noted there has been no substantial commensurate increase in business travel or large meetings. 

“Really, under the best of circumstances, this industry can’t survive on leisure travel alone,” Rogers said. “We need business travel to create more jobs.”

The bills in the House and Senate would be assigned to committees in each chamber for consideration; if approved, they would head to the full floors for votes. 

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Corporations Increase Demand for Hotel Sustainability Data

Multiple lodging companies told BTN that the number of
corporate travel buyer requests for hotel sustainability information has soared
in the past year. A few years ago, Marriott International had requests from
about 20 customers for their carbon footprint with the hotel operator, said
Marriott VP of sustainability and supplier diversity Denise Naguib. By 2020, it
was at 100. “In the last year, during the pandemic when no one was traveling,
that number has almost tripled,” she said.

Hilton Worldwide and IHG Hotels & Resorts also reported
an uptick in requests from corporations for sustainability information, and
what is asked for depends on where their clients are on their own
sustainability paths. Questions range from what their carbon footprint is for
stays to how a hotel reduces its food waste to corporate social responsibility
practices, including diversity, modern slavery and anti-human trafficking

Most queries, though, still focus on the E aspect of
ESG—environment, social and governance, said IHG VP of global corporate
responsibility Catherine Dolton. “But we are starting to get that wider focus
on the S of ESG now as well.”

Some buyers also want to know how to incentivize their
travelers to be greener. “A lot of corporations today aren’t necessarily
mandating their travelers stay with greener hotels, but they want to encourage
that behavior,” Dolton said.

Marriott’s Naguib agreed, adding that buyers have asked how
to flag hotels that have certifications or have carbon and water data in their
booking tools. “Some are force-ranking those hotels to the top of the list,
ahead of price,” she said.

Lack of Global Standard Is a Challenge

Buyers BTN spoke with confirmed their sustainability needs
vary, but one item rang clear: The biggest challenge is the lack of an industry
standard on what a “green” hotel really means. There are dozens of green hotel
labels around the globe, but all measure different elements of a hotel’s

Further, “it is hard to ask hotels to come up with metrics,”
said Hogan Lovell global travel manager David McDonald. “I’m not sure I would
believe them. I don’t think there would be impropriety, but we need an agnostic
industry resource. An equivalent of ISO certifications … an independent body
solely tasked with the measurement of the industry as a whole, published
yearly, and providing a ranking score.”

In terms of making buying decisions, “it makes it difficult
because there isn’t a set of standards that we can work to that would enable us
to differentiate one [hotel] from another,” said PwC global business services
and travel leader Mark Avery, whose company announced last year that as a firm,
they were moving to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

To compensate for a lack of a standard, Avery first asks
hotels if they participate in the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative, a free
tool for hotels to calculate the carbon footprint per occupied room on a daily
basis and on the area of meeting space on an hourly basis. It was created in
2012 by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance (formerly the International
Tourism Partnership) and the World Travel & Tourism Council in
collaboration with 23 leading global hospitality companies. Its counterpart is
the Hotel Water Measurement Initiative, used to calculate water usage in a

We look for them to be on the journey toward a sustainable future and potentially net zero,” he said. “In order to do that, they need to be measuring.”

PwC’s Mark Avery

About 25,000 hotels globally use HCMI and about 18,000 use
HWMI, according to the SHA website. Per STR, there are 216,724 hotels around
the world, defined as having 10 or more rooms, being open to the public and
generating nightly income. That leaves a lot of properties not using these

Avery covers the UK region for PwC. He uses the UK
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs hotel emission factors, but
he said they cover only about 30 markets. “We’ve chosen to estimate other
territories based on the various factors of the countries they have put a
multiplier on so we can capture and report our Scope 3 emissions,” he said.
This involves looking at the DEFRA multipliers and associating the type of
location, typical climate, the kind of facilities the hotel has, and then
estimating a multiplier per room night per country.

In addition, Avery furnishes key providers with information
on PwC’s expectations and asks them to sign on to that level of provision and
have science-based targets set. “We look for them to be on the journey toward a
sustainable future and potentially net zero,” he said. “In order to do that,
they need to be measuring.”

Potential Solutions

Corporate lodging platform HRS in March introduced its Green
Stay Initiative, which uses a proprietary formula for calculating a hotel’s
sustainability score based on its energy consumption, water use and waste
disposal—three key elements buyers look for and that are measurable.

When the company started its project, it faced the same
roadblock: the lack of an industry standard. “We found that large hotel groups
had sustainability programs in place, but they were very different,” said HRS
chief product officer and Green Stay Initiative team leader Martin Biermann.
“At most, they were following the greenhouse gas protocols from a scoping point
of view and what needed to be measured.”

HRS looked at approximately 200 bodies and found that each
basically created its own set of criteria or action plans they recommended to
hotels. The most prominent one was the Global Sustainability Tourism Council,
which has a comprehensive set of action plans for businesses in the travel
industry, Biermann said. HRS also integrated the HCMI and HWMI into its
calculation, along with EarthCheck, Green Key and unnamed others.

Some hotel companies countered that there are industry
standards, at least for a few sustainability measurements, and Hilton’s newly
released 2020 ESG report indicates the industry is working with the World
Wildlife Fund to develop a standardized waste measurement methodology.

The major hotel companies BTN spoke with all use the HCMI
and HWMI tools to help provide an individual hotel’s footprint, and it is a
brand standard—for all properties, managed and franchised—to provide that
information. Hyatt Hotels Corp. added in a statement that along with industry
peers, it participated in coordinated benchmarking through the Cornell
Hospitality Sustainability Benchmarking Index. But again, each company uses
additional differing factors when giving an overall picture of a property’s

Aside from producing a carbon and water footprint using HCMI
and HWMI, Naguib said Marriott also factors in waste practices and “hundreds of
data points” for its sustainability information. The company also currently
takes into consideration seven certifying bodies, including green building
certification programs as well as green hotel certifications that meet GSTC

Hilton Worldwide has LightStay, its proprietary system that
measures the company’s environmental and social impact around the world, “from
energy and water use to volunteer hours,” said Hilton VP of corporate
responsibility Kate Mikesell. There’s also Hilton’s Meeting Impact Calculator,
which based on information about a particular event, can determine the
environmental footprint of that event.

Further, “all of our hotels are certified with ISO quality
management, environmental management and energy management standards,” Mikesell
said, adding that Hilton’s LightStay also achieved GSTC status.

IHG, which earlier this year announced its 10-year Journey
to Tomorrow sustainability plan, has a system called IHG Green Engage, which
also is a brand standard for hotels to measure and monitor utility consumption,
Dolton said. She added that the company has its own certification for four
sustainability levels, which can vary based on geography. “More widely you have
questionnaires like the Carbon Disclosure Project, and various methodologies
for contrasting and comparing the sustainability of hotels. There is some
standardization out there, but I do think we are seeing a greater call from
customers for something that is a bit more straightforward.”

These methods are the foundation for reporting to clients
and don’t even begin to capture all that the companies do on the corporate
level for their own sustainability goals.

Sourcing Implications

A majority of hotel companies’ sustainability requests come
through the Global Business Travel Association request-for-proposal format,
which includes 20 sustainability-related questions. But the questions likely
could use an update as they don’t cover everything that buyers now look for.
“Companies are really focused on more things like renewable energy,” Naguib
said. “It is not one of the standardized questions, but now a lot of customers
are asking about it.”

Still, regarding the GBTA questions, “[the hotels] have to
self-certify,” McDonald said. “There is no one who says, ‘show me your
certification.’ There is no single standard in calculating this, you have to
take it on face value.”

Other buyers go directly to their national sales managers,
while some come through corporate sustainability departments. What is clear is
that buyers will increasingly ask for this information from hotel partners,
especially as more corporations are announcing their own sustainability goals.

When next sourcing hotels, “we will want documentation to
prove that a property or chain has a sustainability program, how they are
measuring it, and do they have a net zero program and how is that being met,”
said one buyer whose company has announced a net zero target.

Will the need to meet internal sustainability goals impact
which hotels make it into corporate travel programs?

Marriott’s Naguib said she is starting to see some more
mature programs use their collected sustainability data for decision making,
but buyers aren’t necessarily there, yet.

“The short answer is yes, but it will take time,” Avery
said. “At the moment it’s not appropriate to say we would not put a hotel in
just because it didn’t have sustainability information. Possibly, if there was
something next door. But sometimes we are in locations where we don’t have a
choice. You have to be realistic.”

For Toyota North America travel services manager Rebecca
Jeffries, it will depend on her travelers. “If it’s something that 10 percent
to 15 percent of my travelers have an interest in, it probably won’t make a
huge difference in my sourcing,” she said. “But if 85 percent of my travelers
are interested in it, then yes it will.”

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What to do if your hotel shuts down during — or right before — your stay

What to do if your hotel shuts down during — or right before — your stay

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STR: March U.S. Hotel Occupancy Tops 50 Percent

U.S. hotel occupancy and revenue per available room in March were the highest reported for any month since February 2020, and the March 2021 average daily rate was the highest since March 2020, according to STR. 

Occupancy reached 54.6 percent for March, ADR was $106.08, and RevPAR was $57.87, according to STR. Instead of showing the year-over-year change, STR provided comparisons to 2019 data because of the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on March 2020 data. Compared with March 2019, March 2021 occupancy was down 20 percent, ADR was off by 19.7 percent, and RevPAR declined 35.8 percent.

Among the top 25 markets, 13 reported occupancy above 50 percent last month, compared with just five for February. Tampa led at 77.1 percent, followed by Miami at 72.7 percent and Phoenix at 70.8 percent. Markets with occupancies below 40 percent were Boston at 35.7 percent, Minneapolis at 36.1 percent, Washington, D.C. at 38.7 percent and Chicago at 39.9 percent.

RELATED: STR: U.S. Hotels in February Show Monthly Improvement

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Travel news: England’s ‘oldest hotel’, America’s newest airline and cycling with Eddy Merckx

California A new airline is to begin flying on April 28, serving 11 destinations from Hollywood Burbank airport and with fares as low as $19. Avelo Airlines, founded by former United chief financial officer Andrew Levy, will only operate domestically, flying to smaller cities and to secondary airports near larger ones, such as Ogden-Hinckley near Salt Lake City and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, south-east of Phoenix. It will launch with three Boeing 737-800s, with a high density 189-seat, single-class configuration, and plans to double its fleet by the end of the year.

Wiltshire The Old Bell in Malmesbury, which claims to be England’s oldest hotel, has been bought by a Texan hospitality company that promises a “refresh and restyle programme” for the property. The Grade 1-listed hotel traces its roots to 1220, when a hostelry was established beside Malmesbury Abbey. Guests have been welcomed there ever since, and there is a 13th-century stone fireplace in the brasserie, although the building has been altered and extended in subsequent centuries. The 34-bedroom hotel had been marketed by Knight Frank with a guide price of £3.75m and was bought by Kim and Whit Hanks, who run an events and wedding business and restaurant in Dripping Springs, Texas. The couple started visiting Malmesbury after Whit Hanks used an ancestry website to discover his forebears came from the town. “Whenever I landed in Malmesbury I felt this amazing sense of community and I thought, I could do business here,” said Kim Hanks in a video released via the hotel’s Facebook page. “I’m really looking forward to meeting the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker and seeing how we can work together.”

Belgian professional cyclist Eddy Merckx riding in the 1970s
Belgian professional cyclist Eddy Merckx riding in the 1970s © Alamy

Perthshire A new European cycling tour operator is offering long weekend trips that combine rides led by former professionals followed by meals cooked by star chefs. LeBlanq has been founded by Justin Clarke, an ex-professional who also set up the Taste of London festival, with former directeur sportif of Team Sky Sean Yates and Ashley Palmer-Watts, previously executive chef of The Fat Duck Group. Their first trip, to Perthshire in July, will be hosted by the six-time Olympic gold medallist Chris Hoy. The second, to the French Champagne region in August will have food from Raymond Blanc, and the chance to ride alongside perhaps the most celebrated living cyclist, Eddy Merckx. Two-night trips cost from £1,895.

Follow @FTLifeArts on Twitter to find out about our latest stories first

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What to do if your hotel shuts down during — or right before — your stay

What to do if your hotel shuts down during — or right before — your stay

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Olympians Diagnosed With COVID-19 Will Reportedly Quarantine in Designated Hotel

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