April 20, 2021
Hotel & Lodging SmartBrief
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Front Desk
Pandemic's toll on US travel, tourism gauged at $766B
The US travel and tourism industry lost $766 billion in 2020, including one-third of its jobs, according to estimates in the World Travel & Tourism Council's annual Economic Impact Report. The industry's contribution to the nation's gross domestic product plunged by 41% from 2019's nearly $1.9 trillion, the council calculated.
Full Story: TravelPulse (4/19) 
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Hotel F&B
Modern takes on the automat concept cater to contact-free restaurant practices that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Marriott is testing smartphone-controlled vending machines in place of breakfast buffets at two Fairfield Inn & Suites locations.
Full Story: Restaurant Business online (4/15) 
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Business Update
Gun Lake Casino in Wayland, Mich., plans to undergo a 250,000-square-foot expansion that will include a 250-room hotel, restaurant, entertainment space and full-service spa. The $300 million project follows an expansion of the casino, which will be completed by the end of the year.
Full Story: MiBiz (Michigan) (4/19) 
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Stockholm's iconic Grand Hotel and two other properties with which it composes the Grand Group have been sold for $462 million, pending approval by the Swedish government. The purchase entails an agreement between Foundation Asset Management AB and Patricia Industries, a part of Investor AB, current owner of the Grand Hotel.
Full Story: Hotels Magazine online (free registration) (4/20) 
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Market Trends
The pandemic has given California new tools and urgent motivation to find housing for the homeless. The state has used federal money to buy hotels under a program called Homekey, and other state and local governments have followed suit.
Full Story: The New York Times (4/17) 
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A Red Carpet Inn in Charlottesville, Va., found a buyer recently -- not a company but rather a coalition of local nonprofits that will use the property to house and otherwise assist homeless people whose plight has been worsened by the pandemic. "The strange silver lining of the COVID era is that it has brought new resources" to the problem of homelessness, says Sunshine Mathon of the Piedmont Housing Alliance, which received a $4.25 million grant for the purchase.
Full Story: Charlottesville Tomorrow (Va.) (4/19) 
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Government Affairs
A proposed moratorium on hotel building in Maui, Hawaii, enjoys the backing of citizens concerned about post-pandemic overdevelopment but is opposed by others as an economic damper. "Give us a chance to catch up and bring our island back into balance," resident David Dorn testified about the bill before the Maui County Council.
Full Story: The Maui News (Wailuku, Hawaii) (4/17) 
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April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.
Christopher Morley,
writer, editor, journalist
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