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Exclusive: Why Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt say hotel prices are only going up

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Why Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt say hotel prices are only going up

#Marriott #Hilton #Hyatt #hotel #prices

Despite high inflation, a softening economy, and fears of a recession, the hotel industry is not seeing any slowdown.

It’s the exact opposite, with Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta predicting that the hotel chain will “have the biggest summer we’ve ever seen in our 103-year history this summer.”

Few industries were hit as hard as travel by the Covid-19 pandemic, which curbed nearly all leisure and business travel plans. But as vaccination rates and loosened restrictions have spread across the country, travelers have returned. In May, global leisure and business flights topped 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic started.

But while that has come with a cost, driven by both the high level of demand from fellow travelers as well as other inflationary pressures, hotel operators still believe there is room to further increase prices.

“The price has gone up for everything, so we’re not different than when you go to a gas pump or the grocery store or any other aspect of life; it’s discretionary,” Nassetta said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” on Monday. 

Nassetta said that two things were keeping demand high: the leisure consumer’s more than $2.5 trillion in incremental savings, and strong corporate balance sheets paired with “very good” profitability.

“They’ve gone two years both from a leisure point of view and a business point of view with meetings and events without being able to do the things that they need to do,” he said. “They have the availability of discretionary income in both segments to do it and they have the need, and that is being matched with demand.”

Marriott CEO Tony Capuano said that over Memorial Day weekend the company’s revenue per available room, which measures hotel performance, was up about 25% in 2022 compared to 2019. In Marriott’s luxury portfolio, which includes hotels like JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, and St. Regis, those hotels saw nearly a 30% increase in rates in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2019.

“I think as long as we’re delivering on service, which can be challenged in markets where labor is difficult, we continue to see really remarkable pricing,” Capuano said on “Closing Bell” on Monday. He did note that while there was “exceedingly strong rate potential” in places like leisure destinations and coastal destinations, that the “middle of the country, some of the urban markets have not come back as quickly.” 

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Another possible boost to demand could come as the Biden administration has now dropped Covid-19 testing requirements for air travelers from abroad.

While other countries like the United Kingdom and Greece have long lifted their requirements, the U.S. still required travelers to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test a day before boarding a U.S.-bound flight, regardless of their vaccination status. It was one of the last countries still enforcing such a rule.

Executives in the travel industry had argued that the restriction had been hurting international travel demand. “Requiring pre-departure testing creates uncertainty for travelers, one more hurdle that may lead them to choose a destination with less friction,” Capuano said in a statement to CNBC’s Seema Mody.

“The Biden administration is to be commended for this action, which will welcome back visitors from around the world and accelerate the recovery of the U.S. travel industry,” Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association said in a statement. “International inbound travel is vitally important to businesses and workers across the country who have struggled to regain losses from this valuable sector.”

Hyatt president and CEO Mark Hoplamazian said on “Squawk on the Street” on Tuesday that foreign travelers to the U.S. spend a lot more than domestic travelers, and that the testing requirements were “creating friction.”

But even without travelers that may have put their trips on hold given the requirement, demand remains high. “Pretty much across the board, all the business segments and leisure are all firing on all cylinders,” Hoplamazian said.

Keith Barr, the CEO of IHG Hotels & Resorts which owns brands like the InterContinental and Holiday Inn, said that he expects demand to continue to grow for the rest of the year as travel is more normalized post-pandemic.

That will likely come with further price increases as inflation and other costs are further factored in.

“The demand is so strong … we’re having the ability to price, but in fact, we haven’t even been keeping pace with inflation,” Barr said on “Closing Bell” on Tuesday. “There’s still some pricing power in this business moving forward, and demand will continue to come through the summer.”

Those prices will likely only grow as there will be “very little incremental new capacity coming into the industry,” Nassetta said.”The laws of supply and demand, laws of economics, are alive and well,” he said.

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Exclusive: Xiaomi launches smartphone with enormous imaging sensors and Leica optics – TalkOfNews.com

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Xiaomi launches smartphone with enormous imaging sensors and Leica optics

#Xiaomi #launches #smartphone #enormous #imaging #sensors #Leica #optics

With a limited launch in mainland China today, one glance at the new smartphones from Xiaomi leaves little doubt what the smartphone is all about. A third of the back of the smartphone is dominated by a dome covering a number of cameras with one of the biggest sensors we’ve seen in a smartphone so far – a 1-inch sensor covered with Leica glass.

A lot of people – men especially – will tell you that size doesn’t matter. In the case of imaging sensors, that just isn’t the case; the glass in front of lenses can only do so much and perfect glass doesn’t exist. Bigger sensors means higher resolution, yes, but it also means that the sensors have space for  bigger individual pixels. This helps both with the cooling of the sensor and could indicate much better low-light performance.

The entire 12S series of smartphones features different imaging systems jointly developed by Xiaomi and Leica. I know that in the process of making fun of Leica recently, I was making fun of Hasselblad for its smartphone integration, but in this case it actually somewhat makes sense. By using lenses designed by Leica (carrying the prestigious Leica Summicron brand, no less), the phone might actually be able to make the most of its sensors.

The range of cameras available on the various cameras include some pretty sophisticated lens designs rarely seen on smartphones; I can’t wait to get my hands on one and see if it works as well out in the real world as it looks on paper.

That’s a full-size smartphone. That’s also a hell of a lens. Image Credit: Xiaomi

The company claims that its lens designs drastically improve the photo quality the camera can deliver in general. The alphabet soup in the press release makes it sound as if the smartphone has re-invented the wheel, and makes some pretty juicy promises:

Xiaomi 12S Ultra primary camera adopts an 8P aspheric lens, in order to address common photography issues such as flare, ghosting, and chromatic aberration, the camera module of Xiaomi 12S Ultra also adds anti-glare lens coating, lens edge ink coating, cyclic olefin copolymer material, and infrared light filter with spin coating technology. Together, these features offer a clearer overall picture that is consistent across the lens.

In addition to the advanced optical design, Xiaomi 12S Series “co-engineered with Leica” also utilizes Leica imaging profiles, inheriting Leica’s century-old image aesthetic and reproducing Leica’s tone and aesthetics with the aid of cutting-edge algorithms. For the end user, this means access to two photographic styles: The “Leica Authentic Look” and “Leica Vibrant Look”, both offering enhanced creative freedom to the photographer.

To those of us who’ve read a photography press release or two, the first paragraph above can be summarized as “We stuck tech in this camera that was pretty common on compact cameras in 2005 or so” and the second can be summarized as “… and we created some filters that have been around in Hipstamatic since 2009, but these look kinda like Leica cameras look. Ignoring, of course, that the ‘Leica look’ is heavily dependent on the films you put in the camera giant’s legendary cameras.

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Press release sleight of hand aside, the cameras themselves do look impressive, and sticking Sony’s IMX989 1-inch sensors in smartphones is a hell of a feat to pull off, both from an engineering point of view and as a commitment to photography from the smartphone maker.

I mean just look at that thing! Image credit: Xiaomi

To use a corollary: Have you ever heard of the A-10 fighter plane? Usually referred to as the Warthog, was essentially a ridiculously large machine gun firing depleted uranium rounds, and they built a plane around it to be able to blow up tanks. That’s the image this smartphone conjures for me; this isn’t the kind of optics you just slap into a phone at the last minute because the product folks thought it was a good idea.

The sensors, mated with high-quality glass, promise exceptional low-light photography capabilities. Pair that with some smart computational photography skills, and a 10-bit RAW format, and you’re starting to talk about some truly advanced camera tech indeed. These phones could very well be the final nail in the low-end compact camera category that’s been at death’s door for so long.

Wild, for the photography buffs, is that we’re here talking about an SLR-challenging 50.3 megapixels of resolution and a 23mm-equivalent wide-angle lens. This is, as far as I’m aware, the most advanced set of lens/sensor combos of any smartphone on the market. Of course, megapixels aren’t everything.

Sample image shot with the new flagship smartphone. It was taken with the 24mm f/1.9 built-tin lens at 1/1250 shutter speed and ISO 225. Image credit: Xiaomi

The rest of the smartphone looks decent on paper as well – 67W high-speed charging, a large 4,860 mAh battery and smart battery management should keep you running for a while. The phone is powered by the all-new Snapdragon® 8+ Gen 1 Mobile Platform. The Xiaomi 12S Ultra is even equipped with a cooling pump that uses a capillary network to pump cooling liquid around and keep things from overheating and a 6.73” AMOLED color display.

The phones are currently only available in mainland China, with the Xiaomi 12S Ultra starting at around $900, the Xiaomi 12S Pro starting at around $700, and the Xiaomi 12S starting at $600. No word on if or when these will make it outside of the country’s borders.

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Exclusive: U.S. flight disruptions finally ease as the holiday weekend winds down – TalkOfNews.com

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U.S. flight disruptions finally ease as the holiday weekend winds down

#flight #disruptions #finally #ease #holiday #weekend #winds

Lighted tunnel in the United Airlines terminal, O’Hare International Airport, Chicago Illinois.

Andrew Woodley | Universal Images Group via Getty Images

U.S. airline delays eased on Monday as weather improved, a relief for travelers and airlines as the July Fourth holiday weekend comes to an end.

As of Monday afternoon, about 1,200 U.S. flights were delayed and 183 were canceled, down from nearly 4,700 delays and more than 300 cancellations a day earlier, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware.

This year through July 3, 2.8% of the more than 4.1 million flights scheduled by U.S. airlines were canceled, up from 2.1% of the more than 4.74 million flights scheduled in the same period, according to FlightAware. And so far this year, 20.2% of flights were delayed, up from 16.7%.

about a fifth of U.S. airlines’ flights were delayed and 2.8% canceled, up from 2.1% canceled over the same period of 2019.

The weekend was key for airlines as executives expected a surge of travelers after more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. Passengers shelled out more for tickets as fares surpassed 2019 levels.

Industry staffing shortages, many the result of buyouts that airlines urged workers to take during the pandemic, have exacerbated routine challenges like bad weather.

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U.S. airline executives will begin detailing their summer performances and providing updated outlooks for the year in quarterly reports starting midmonth. A big question is what happens after the summer-travel peak fades, as many children in the U.S. go back to school in August.

Airlines spent the last few weeks focusing on limiting summer travel disruptions. Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and others have trimmed their schedules to give themselves more room to recover when things go wrong, such as when thunderstorms hit major airline hubs over the weekend.

Airlines and federal transportation officials have pointed fingers at one another in recent days over the cause of the flight disruptions. Airlines blamed air traffic control for lengthy delays, while the FAA and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg lashed out at airlines for letting go of workers during the pandemic, despite billions in federal aid.

Buttigieg on Saturday said one of his own flights was canceled.

“The complexity of modern aviation requires everything to work in concert,” said Matt Colbert, who previously managed operations and strategies at several U.S. carriers and is the founder of consulting firm Empire Aviation Services.

Delta took the unusual step of allowing travelers to change their flights outside of the peak July 1-4 period if they can fly though July 8, without paying a difference in fare, in hopes customers could avoid some of the disruptions on the busiest days. Envoy Air, a regional carrier owned by American Airlines, offered pilots triple pay to pick up extra shifts in July, CNBC reported last month.

“Bring patience,” Colbert said. “The people working on the other side of the counter are frustrated, too.”

European travel has become chaotic with passengers at some of the biggest hubs facing long lines and baggage delays as the industry faces staffing issues and a surge in demand.

Scandinavian airline SAS on Monday said it would be forced to cancel half of its flights after pay talks with pilots’ union representatives broke down, setting off a strike. Meanwhile, the chief operating officer of low-cost airline easyJet resigned after recent waves of flight cancellations.

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Exclusive: Workplace Learning Is Broken. These 5 Steps Tell You How to Fix It. – TalkOfNews.com

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Workplace Learning Is Broken. These 5 Steps Tell You How to Fix It.

#Workplace #Learning #Broken #Steps #Fix

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Learning at work is broken. Across the U.S., hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year on employee training — and most of it is a waste.

A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review reported that 70% of employees claim they don’t have mastery of the skills needed to do their jobs; only 25% believe training measurably improves performance; and only 12% apply new skills learned in learning and development programs to their jobs.

But the fact remains: Employees need on-job learning to be successful at work. So what is the best way to improve the situation? The first step to fixing the problem is to understand why it exists in the first place.

Related: 4 Reasons for Low Training Participation (and How to Change it)

How we learn at work today

Today, when employees go through training, this often looks like long, exhaustive seminars, multiple videos or required readings. Many times, this content becomes outdated quickly and is not frequently updated.

But how we actually learn is closer to the concept of information foraging. According to this model, people will calculate the likelihood that a source will give them the answer they are looking for against the time cost it will take them to get the answer from that source.

So when your employees need to recall something that was presented to them in training, is it more likely that they will seek out the recording of that training session or video? Or is it more likely that they’ll go directly to someone who can answer their question quickly?

Employees quickly forget what they learn

One of the primary reasons that traditional training isn’t working is called “the Forgetting Curve.” In the late 19th century, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus conducted experiments on memory. His findings illuminated how quickly the brain loses new information along with a visual representation of the way learning fades over time — the Forgetting Curve.

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Essentially, once we learn something, there is a steep dropoff in retention if we don’t reinforce what we have learned. Most of us can relate if we’ve ever sat through a long presentation or LMS course only to find that we remember little of it later that day.

We know from research that we need to reinforce learning regularly to keep from losing knowledge. But what does this reinforcement look like for an organization that is trying to arm its employees with knowledge that will help them to be successful in their jobs?

It’s different in every situation, but there are steps we can universally take to improve the learning experience at work. Most people prefer to learn by doing, and the best time to learn this information is when it is actually relevant and needed. Once we can connect learning with a real-world situation, it becomes easier to absorb.

Related: 3 Ways to Make Corporate Training Fun

5 steps to improve learning at work

The biggest takeaway from research on how we learn as adults is that information needs to be presented that is relevant when it is needed, and in digestible or “snackable” pieces. This is where “just-in-time learning” comes into play.

Just-in-time learning aims to deliver consumable pieces of information at the time your employee needs to use it — remember, adults prefer to learn by doing. And because we are all struggling with selective attention, we need to deliver that information in a way that is not overwhelming.

Let’s review five steps that can help make learning at work successful.

  1. Make training relevant and timely. Your employees want to learn information that will actually help them. Focus on how the information will benefit them and be more successful in their jobs. Why is this worth their precious time? Rather than bombarding your new hires with hours of information that they are unlikely to remember, seek to deliver information when they will actually need it in small doses of microcontent. We have limited attention spans — the more digestible the information, the better.
  2. Consider the value of your employees’ time. Take into account the hourly salary of your employees and the time they are in training today. If you calculate their hourly rate against the hours of training, how expensive are your classes if the employee is not getting value and retaining knowledge? And if your employees feel that the training is a waste of their time, that’s even worse. They are likely to be multitasking their way through the course. When you consider your training program, make sure the benefit is clear to your employees and that you are developing your training with specific and measurable goals in mind.
  3. Involve your employees in the learning process. Are your employees actively involved in training, or are they passive attendees? Involving your employees in the training process is more effective for many reasons. For one, peers respect peers. Second, coworkers naturally communicate with one another more fluidly than with upper management or an instructor. And last and maybe most importantly, when your employees are involved in the process, they take ownership of the outcome.
  4. Balance learning with physical needs. For your training to be successful, your employees need to be in a good place both mentally and physically. If you are hosting intensive in-person training, be sure you are providing plenty of brain breaks, time for walking or stretching, healthy snacks, and encourage everyone to stay hydrated.
  5. Structure your learning program with a multifaceted approach. The need for your employees to reskill and upskill will continue to be important for the success of your team — especially as your organization strives to thrive through unpredictable tides of change. But when it comes to learning, there is not a silver bullet approach. The best method is to build a learning strategy that is versatile and broad to benefit the majority of your employees.

Learning at work today is broken, but it doesn’t have to be. With these five steps, your employees can be more engaged, prepared and set up for success.

Related: 3 Corporate Training Resolutions for 2022

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