5 things to know: 12 March 2018
5 things to know: 12 March 2018
12 MARCH 2018 9:45 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Questions linger about specifics of tax changes
  • FEMA ends Hurricane Irma hotel vouchers
  • Radisson CEO on how his company is changing
  • European destinations working to keep up with demand
  • DiamondRock names new EVP/CFO

Questions linger about specifics of tax changes: The sweeping changes in the U.S. tax code include provisions that are still not well understood by businesspeople around the country, Bloomberg reports. According to a news agency, there are hundreds of thousands of U.S. employers who are unsure if they qualify for a collective $415 billion deduction aimed at pass-through businesses.

Bloomberg notes that business groups are pushing the IRS to interpret eligibility for the deduction as widely as possible, but “Congress tried to bar wealthy owners of services businesses from getting the break.” The IRS is left to sort out who is eligible and who is not at a time when the agency’s own structure and budget is under the microscope of Congress.

“The agency must write coherent rules, and then be ready to make judgments on every business in the U.S.,” Bloomberg reports. “And the IRS can be challenged by taxpayers and second-guessed by courts, a process that could take years to play out.”

FEMA ends Hurricane Irma hotel vouchers: An ABC affiliate in Tampa Bay, Florida, citing an announcement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, noted the federal government is no longer providing hotel vouchers for people displaced by Hurricane Irma as of 10 March. WFTS reports FEMA had been paying the cost of hotel stays under the agency’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program.

FEMA spent roughly $110 million for 27,300 in the program related to Irma in Florida. Roughly 1,300 are still looking for long-term housing.

Radisson CEO on how his company is changing: Speaking with Hotel New Now’s Terence Baker at the recent International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin, John Kidd, president, COO and CEO of the newly-christened Radisson Hospitality, said his company is going to see a significant amount of change, and much of it will be to meet the needs and desires of owners.

Kidd noted the company has plans to add significant rooms to its system, including 13,000 to 14,000 in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region and 56,000 to 57,000 combined in the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

European destinations working to keep up with demand: Officials in some European markets—such as Venice, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Barcelona, Spain—are “struggling to manage huge crowds arriving daily on cheap flights and cruise ships,” Reuters reports.

Those destinations are not trying to limit the number of visitors, though. Instead “the cities are coming up with ways to channel tourist flows away from the most popular attractions,” the article says. Dubrovnik officials are working on releasing a smartphone app that “lets users known when the narrow alleys of the old town are crowded and suggests alternative sights outside the city walls.”

DiamondRock names new EVP/CFO: Maryland-based real estate investment trust DiamondRock Hospitality Company has announced Jay Johnson as the company’s new EVP and CFO, according to a news release. Johnson had previously worked as SVP and treasurer at Host Hotels & Resorts.

“Jay is a rare talent and brings an excellent background as a former banker and public company executive with experience in managing complex balance sheets, interfacing with external stakeholders, and appreciating capital allocation decisions that drive shareholder value,” DiamondRock President and CEO Mark Brugger said in the news release.

Compiled by Sean McCracken.