Payroll Tax Increase Leads to Shifts in Shopping Behavior A recent study has found that consumers are adjusting their spending habits after the 2-percent payroll tax increase went into effect on Jan. 1. For a consumer with a household income of $40,000, the increase represents $800 in reduced spending power per year. This can be the difference between shopping at a lower-cost dollar store vs. a mass merchandiser, increasing purchases of a store brand vs. a national brand, or suppressing an impulse to pick up a snack on the spur of the moment while shopping in the store, according to Symphony Consulting. Symphony Consulting conducted an initial analysis of shopper behavior since Jan. 1 focusing on the increase's impact on food and beverage consumption, including its impact on key dimensions, such as type of stores shopped, type of brands bought, and the effect on various segments and categories. "To date, shifts in shopper behavior are subtle, but patterns are emerging that deserve close and ongoing scrutiny," said Dr. Krishnakumar S. Davey, managing director of Symphony Consulting. "Our initial analysis offers highly current data on shopper behavior that will form the basis for ongoing research into the impact of the payroll tax increase." Comparing dollar sales growth in food and beverages in the first four weeks of 2013 to the last four weeks of 2012 revealed little change in shopper behavior. Specifically, sales growth remained constant at 2.1 percent, and food inflation growth decreased to 1 percent from 1.4 percent. However, in the last week of the month, discretionary categories across all outlets experienced some softness. SymphonyIRI defined each growth statistic as performance in the given period as compared to the same period one year ago.
Private label dollar sales increased slightly in the first four weeks of 2013 compared to the last four weeks of 2012, to 2 percent from 1 percent, picking up the pace in the last week of the month. In addition to broad strokes, Symphony Consulting's analysis reveals evidence of softness in shopper purchases along some key dimensions. Dollar sales growth for all channels remained constant at 2.1 percent in the first four weeks of 2013 and the last four weeks of 2012. However, dollar sales growth at mass merchandisers decreased to 3.3 percent from 5.3 percent in this timeframe. Club store dollar sales growth also registered a similar decline, the research division explained. Broken out by category, the analysis found that dollar sales growth of several categories showed declines, including in snacks (down 230 basis points) and beverages, such as coffee and tea (2-110 basis points). However, cooking ingredients and beverages, such as juices and drinks, showed growth. Despite across-the-board over-performance in the first four weeks of 2013, discretionary categories lagged total food and beverage in the last week of January 2013, with dollar sales growth of 1.9 percent compared to 2.5 percent for the category as a whole in the same period, according to Symphony Consulting. "We expect payroll tax increases will impact non-CPG spending (such as gas, clothes, entertainment) potentially more than CPG spending. However, out-of-home consumption will likely drop, and specifically out-of-home breakfast categories will be negatively impacted," Davey said. "Consumers usually eliminate the out-of-home breakfast meal first when they cut spending. Economic growth is expected to be stagnant due to tax increases and continued high unemployment
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Releases New Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification On March 8, 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services released a new version of Form I-9 with a revision date of 03/08/2013. Employers are required to use the new Form I-9 no later than May 7, 2013, for all new hires and rehires, as well as to re-verify an employeeâ€™s identity and continued employment eligibility. Employers are not required to replace prior I-9 forms that were used before May 7, 2013. Changes to Form I-9 include expanded instructions and new fields, including an employeeâ€™s e-mail address, telephone number and foreign passport information. Failure to use the new Form I-9 by May 7, 2013, may result in the imposition of civil penalties under the Immigration and Nationality Act. U.S. employers must ensure proper completion of Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the U.S., including both citizens and non-citizens. An employee must demonstrate his or her eligibility to work in the United States. The employer must examine the employment eligibility and identity document(s) presented by the employee to determine whether the document appears to be genuine and relates to the employee. Employers are required to retain Form I-9 for three years after the date of hire or one year after termination, whichever is later. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Vinh Duong (615.850.8936), Brian Clifford (615.850.8504) or any member of Waller's Labor & Employment Group. Page 1
Report examines top multicultural groups' spending power AH&LA's foundation funded a study to quantify the travel and spending power of the top five multicultural groups: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) and females. Providing a snapshot of the size and potential economic impact if harnessed, it also examines differences in media usage, leisure travel activities, and attitudes toward travel. AH&LA members can download for free at http://www.ahla.com/login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fMembersOnly%2fconte nt.aspx%3fid%3d5972&id=5972. Member login required.
2013 Indiana Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence Nominations now being accepted for: • • • • • • •
Energy/Renewable Resources Greening the Government Land Use Outreach or Education Pollution Prevention Recycling/Reuse Five Years Continuous Improvement
The Indiana Governor’s Environmental Excellence Awards recognize exemplary projects across Indiana. Projects must demonstrate significant and measurable results, be innovative, comprehensive and documented. Who Can Apply? The awards are open to all Indiana facilities, state and local units of government, individuals, and technical assistance organizations that operate or support environmental protection efforts of outstanding quality. Eligible technical assistance organizations include, but are not limited to: public entities, educational groups, trade associations, individuals, public interest and community and labor groups. Nominated projects/ facilities must be: located in Indiana; focused on significant environmental protection activity; able to provide at least a year of quantifiable results; innovative; voluntary; in compliance with environmental health and safety laws; and, willing to share information with others via state publications or Web sites. Nominations must be received by IDEM by 5 p.m. EST on April 19, 2013. To learn more, call 800.988.7901 or visit www.in.gov/idem/5147.htm
Raising Awareness About IN Hunger President Pro Temp of the Senate, David Long had the opportunity to join fellow General Assembly leaders in raising awareness about hunger in Indiana. Eleven regional food banks, including Community Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Indiana, set up shop at the Statehouse to collect donations. Did you know? • Hunger affects one in six Hoosiers. • One in four Hoosier children is food insecure. That’s an estimated 358,000 children statewide, in every county of Indiana. • More than 13 percent of low-income Hoosier seniors ages 60+ are at risk of hunger. • About 46 percent of Indiana’s food bank clients report having to choose between paying for food or paying utility bills in the previous 12 months. "I’m extremely proud of our food bank partner in Northeast Indiana and of our state’s food banks overall. These organizations really epitomize Hoosier hospitality at its finest. Last year, more than 1,700 food assistance programs in Indiana distributed 66 million pounds of food," said Sen. Long. Page 2
Hottest Celebrity Chefs on TV to Heat Up World Culinary Showcase at NRA Show 2013
Rick Bayless, Anne Burrell, Cat Cora, Marc Murphy, Marcus Samuelsson, Aarón Sánchez Among Celeb Chefs (CHICAGO) The National Restaurant Association today announced that celebrity chefs from across the country - including Top Chef Masters winner Rick Bayless, Iron Chef’s Cat Cora and judges Maneet Chauhan, Marcus Samuelsson, Marc Murphy and Aarón Sánchez of Food Network’s hit show Chopped will perform live on the World Culinary Showcase stage at the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. NRA Show 2013 will take place May 18-21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. The World Culinary Showcase cooking demonstration theater is the focal point where some of the country’s top chefs will show their mastery live, featuring today’s hottest menu trends, including the latest in healthful options, local sourcing, molecular gastronomy, gluten-free alternatives, high-profit commodities and jaw-dropping creativity. “We look forward to welcoming some of the world’s most celebrated culinary artists to NRA Show 2013’s World Culinary Showcase. As highly successful restaurateurs, these chefs serve as inspiration not only to television audiences from coast to coast, but also to fellow industry professionals,” said Jeffery W. Davis, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2013 and CEO of the United States Beef Corporation. “Throughout all four days of whirlwind energy and excitement at the NRA Show, these culinary masters will provide attendees with tips, techniques and recipe ideas that are sure to please every restaurant guest.” Participating celebrity chefs in the World Culinary Showcase will include: Rick Bayless – Winner of Top Chef Masters, multiple James Beard Foundation awards, chef/owner of
Chicago-based Frontera, Xoco and Topolobampo restaurants, author of countless cookbook classics. Anne Burrell – With her trademark spiky blond hair and pumped-up personality, Anne Burrell has been sharing her passion for food and cooking with America and isn’t slowing down. Not only has she worked at some of the top restaurants in New York and studied the culinary traditions of Italy, she also stars in Food Network favorites such as Chef Wanted, Worst Cooks in America and Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. Burrell has battled alongside Mario Batali as his sous chef on Iron Chef America and is a New York Times best-selling author with her cookbook “Cook Like a Rock Star.” Homaro Cantu – Chef and owner of moto and iNG restaurants. Cantu opened iNG in 2011 and has created the world's only restaurant offering flavor-changing experiences. iNG has already been the subject of more than 200 articles, including a recent spot on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer where she described the flavor changing experience as "something that will change the world of gastronomy forever." Maneet Chauhan – Chopped judge, Iron Chef challenger and James Beard Award winner, Chef Chauhan is currently celebrating the release of her book ‘World on My Plate’ and her soon-to-be-opened Nashville, TN restaurant. An active supporter of various charities such as CRY (Child Rights and You) and the Make a Wish Foundation, Chef Chauhan is highly devoted to giving back to the community that has given her so much. Cat Cora – First and only female Iron Chef, first female inducted into the American Academy of Chefs® Culinary Hall of Fame, culinary mastermind behind six restaurant properties, Executive Editor for Bon Appétit magazine, accomplished television host, author of three successful cookbooks, and founder of Chefs for Humanity. Mike Isabella – Washington, D.C.-based chef/
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owner of Graffiato and the soon-toopen Kapnos and G, named "the People's Best New Chef, Mid-Atlantic Region" by FOOD & WINE magazine, two time contestant on Top Chef, which included a runner-up spot on Top Chef All-Stars. He is also a member of the American Chef Corps, a network of chefs from across the United States who serve as resources to the Department of State.
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Marc Murphy – Executive Chef + Owner of Benchmarc Restaurants (Landmarc +Ditch Plains) and Benchmarc Events in New York City. He is a judge on Food Network’s Chopped and has made appearances on Iron Chef America, Unique Eats, and the Best Thing I Ever Made among others. He is a member of the Leadership Council for Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry® campaign and official spokesperson for Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry™ program. In addition, he is Vice President of the Manhattan Chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association. Marcus Samuelsson – Marcus Samuelsson is an internationally acclaimed chef, restaurateur, and author. He caught the attention of the culinary world as Aquavit’s Executive Chef when he became the youngest person to receive a three-star rating from the New York Times. In 2009, he created President Obama’s first State Dinner. His memoir, Yes, Chef, is a bestseller, and his restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem, has received countless accolades.
Aarón Sánchez – Aarón Sánchez learned his culinary craft in his mother’s kitchen as a young boy. By age 16, his culinary capability earned him an apprenticeship with world-renowned chef Paul Prudhomme. Aarón is the chef/owner of Mestizo Leawood and the culinary visionary behind Tacombi and Crossroads at House of Blues. He’s also well-known on the culinary screen for starring in series such as Chopped, Heat Seekers and Aarón Loves NY. Many of the chefs will also be doing book signings after their demonstrations at scheduled times in the Celebrity Book Signings area, including Bayless, Burrell, Cantu, Chauhan, Cora, Isabella, Samuelsson and Sánchez. For a full schedule of the World Culinary Showcase and Celebrity Book Signings, visit Restaurant.org/Show. The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2013 will be held May 18-21 at McCormick Place in Chicago, and the 2013 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event held in conjunction with the NRA Show will take place May 19-20. The events attract 61,000+ attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and showcases the latest products, services, innovative ideas, up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues and more growth opportunities than any other industry event. For more information, visit the Show and IWSB websites at Restaurant.org/Show and WineSpiritsBeer.org, and find the NRA Show on Twitter @NRAShow, Facebook, YouTube and its widely read NRA Show blog.
Court notices sent in NRA-opposed swipe-fee settlement This month the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York began notifying millions of restaurateurs and other merchants about a proposed settlement in the long-running case the National Restaurant Association and other merchant groups filed against Visa, MasterCard and some large banks over card acceptance fees and rules. The Association opposes the proposed settlement, believing it does little, if anything, to address fundamental problems in the way fees are set, and limits future legal challenges by merchants against card networks. Along with a majority of named class co-plaintiffs in the case, the Association last fall asked the court to reject the proposed settlement. But the court gave its preliminary approval in November, and has set a final "fairness hearing" for September 2013 to decide on final approval. The National Restaurant Association is working to ensure that every individual restaurant merchant understands their options in the case. Each individual restaurateur must decide on their own how to proceed -- whether to object to settlement, opt out of the settlement, opt out and object, or remain in the class. Since the Association has gone on the record in strong opposition to the settlement, the Association recommends that merchants take one of the first three actions. If a merchant chooses to opt out or object, paperwork must be filed with the court by May 28, 2013. If merchants do nothing about the notices they receive, they automatically remain in the class -- and settlement proponents could use this as a tool to urge the court to give final approval to the agreement in September. If merchants object, opt out or do both, this sends a strong message to the court that merchants are unhappy with the proposed settlement. The Association offers more details at Restaurant.org/InterchangeSettlement.
Restaurant Performance Index Hit Five-Month High in January as Operators’ Optimism Grew Same-store sales and customer traffic results remained mixed; Restaurant operators more optimistic about sales growth and the economy
(Washington, D.C.) Driven by a more optimistic outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) rose to its highest level in five months. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 100.6 in January, up 1.0 percent from December and its highest level since August 2012. In addition, January represented the first time in four months that the RPI rose above 100, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators. “Although the current situation indicators were mixed January, restaurant operators were decidedly more optimistic about sales growth and the economy in the months ahead,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the Association. “Operators’ outlook for same-store sales, capital spending and the overall economy all improved, which propelled the Expectations Index to its highest level in eight months.” Watch a video of Riehle providing commentary on the January RPI and other economic indicators at Restaurant.org/RPI. The RPI is constructed so that the health of the restaurant industry is measured in relation to a steady-state level of 100. Index values above 100 indicate that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while index values below 100 represent a period of contraction for key industry indicators. The Index consists of two components – the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index. The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 99.7 in January – up 0.6 percent from December’s level. Although restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales results in January, softness in the customer traffic and labor indicators outweighed the performance, which resulted in a Current Situation Index reading below 100 for the fifth consecutive month. Although restaurant operators reported net positive same-store sales for the 20thconsecutive month, results remained mixed in January. Forty-four percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between January 2012 and January 2013, while 37 percent of operators reported lower sales. In December, 42 percent of operators reported higher same-store sales, while 38 percent reported a sales decline. While overall sales remained positive in January, restaurant operators reported a net decline in customer traffic for the second consecutive month. Thirty-three percent of restaurant operators reported higher customer traffic levels between January 2012 and January 2013, while 40 percent of operators said their traffic declined. In December, 31 percent of operators reported an increase in customer traffic, while 48 percent reported lower traffic levels. Despite the mixed sales and traffic results, restaurant operators reported an increase in capital spending activity. Fifty-two percent of operators saying they made a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling during the last three months, up from 45 percent who reported similarly last month. The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators (same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions), stood at 101.6 in January – up 1.3 percent from December’s level. January’s solid gain was driven by improvements in each of the forward-looking indicators, and resulted in the highest level for the Expectations Index in eight months. Restaurant operators’ outlook for sales growth continues to improve from the uncertain period surrounding the fiscal cliff at the end of 2012. Forty-six percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 37 percent last month and the highest level in seven months. Meanwhile, 17 percent of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, essentially unchanged from 16 percent last month. For the first time in four months, restaurant operators have a net positive outlook for the overall economy. Thirty percent of restaurant operators said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, up from just 17 percent last month. Meanwhile, 20 percent of operators said they expect economic conditions to worsen in the next six months, down from 29 percent who reported similarly last month.
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Restaurant operators are also more bullish in their plans for capital spending in the months ahead. Fifty-nine percent of restaurant operators plan to make a capital expenditure for equipment, expansion or remodeling in the next six months, up from 50 percent who reported similarly last month.
The RPI is based on the responses to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, which is fielded monthly among restaurant operators nationwide on a variety of indicators including sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures. The full report and video summary are available online at Restaurant.org/RPI. The RPI is released on the last business day of each month, and a more detailed data and analysis can be found on Restaurant TrendMapper, the Association’s subscription-based web site that provides detailed analysis of restaurant industry trends.
2013 NRA Tax & Financial Executive Study Group Meeting- June 19-21 San Francisco Registration is now open for this year’s NRA Tax & Financial Executive Study Group meeting, which is being held June 19-21 at the J.W. Marriott San Francisco Union Square. Early Bird registration fees (through May 3) are $600 for NRA Members and $1,100 for non-NRA Members. Fees increase by $100 after that date. Also, please be sure and contact the hotel and book your hotel reservations when you register. Our room block sold out the last two years and I expect that to be the case again this year. Ask for the conference rate of $259/night. You can register using the below link: https://www.etouches.com/ESGFTX-S13 Meeting Chairs/Partial Agenda Paul Zolnowski, Executive Director, Tax, DineEquity firstname.lastname@example.org 818-637-4726 Andrew Foff, Controller, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants email@example.com 708-215-5710 Liz Garner (Director, Commerce & Entrepreneurship) and I have begun planning the agenda for the meeting with Paul and Andrew. Feel free to contact any of us regarding potential topics or meeting logistics. A partial list of confirmed agenda items/ speakers is highlighted below: • Restaurant Industry----View From Wall Street Nicole Miller Regan, Senior Analyst, Piper Jaffray • CFO Panel----Trends & Best Practices Moderator: Mike Gottlieb, EY Global Leader Restaurant Practice CFO’s TBD • Prospects For Tax Reform Hank Gutman, Partner, KPMG, Former Chief of Staff Joint Tax Committee • Restaurant Industry Outlook Hudson Riehle, Senior VP, Research, NRA • Developments In Tip Compliance Dan Lauer, IRS Program Manager, National Tip Reporting Compliance (Invited) • Employee Benefits & Payroll Tax Issues Marianna Dyson, Miller & Chevalier • Expanded Tax/Finance Roundtable Discussion All Company Attendees • Networking Opportunities Group Dinner, Reception, Baseball Game (Giants-Marlins Thursday Night) Page 7
Five New Private Dining Trends
by Crystal Grave; founder, president and CEO of Snappening.com Private dinner parties—whether it’s an awards banquet or a wedding rehearsal dinner—are meant to celebrate an occasion with great company and amazing food. Of course, the evening should be an unforgettable opportunity for the host and hostess to impress their guests! Private dining trends are always evolving, and being on the cutting-edge of event planning is important for your business and its ongoing success. Here are the five hottest trends in private dining that your restaurant or hotel should know to make sure your guests’ next events are the best yet. Downsize your plates Forget the large meals, and think small. Intricate, miniaturized food is the big trend right now. Go savory and go mini! Mini Reubens, shrimp calzones, spinach empanaditas, frittatas and fruit spring rolls are just a few fresh, exciting choices that your guests will be anxious to try. Consider retiring carving stations and serving fresh meat in more creative, bite-sized options like chicken poppers or sausagestuffed mushrooms. Sushi stations are also being considered a tired trend that many private dining businesses are moving away from. The proper pair-up beverage style Nothing compliments a good meal quite like a good drink. And being able to offer your guests the proper drink for their dinner helps take the guessing out of their meal, allowing them to enjoy the experience even more. Mini-food has given a whole new life to small cocktails and wine pairings. Wine and cocktails are being served in small glasses— like shot glasses. Guests can eat their appetizer, taste their drink, and mingle throughout the room without being hindered by awkward dishes in their hands. Going green One of the fastest growing trends in private dining—particularly in wedding rehearsal dinners—is the incorporation of eco-friendly dishes into menus. Sustainable seafood, poultry, vegetarian protein, artisan cheeses and breads, as well as locally grown fruits and vegetables have a lower carbon footprint on our environment. For environmentally conscious couples, this isn’t a trend; it’s a lifestyle to which your private dining business can incorporate into their rehearsal dinner. Additionally, buying from local farmers and suppliers helps build community relationships and improve the local economy. Honoring culture and tradition Another hot trend among rehearsal dinners is including cultural and traditional dishes that are important to the couple and their families. Many wedding etiquette experts recommend that rehearsal dinner should serve as a reflection of the couple, and each family they represent, as both come together in matrimony. Working with your couples to incorporate their heritage into the dinner menu will offer a personalized feel to their event, giving your private dining business an advantage over the competition. Nix the six tops Seating guests six to a table isn’t exactly the recipe for a warm, cozy party. In fact, many private parties are choosing to mingle and walk the room instead. This makes everyone feel like they’re part of the event and spending time with the host and hostess, rather than being constrained by an assigned seating chart. Many brides and grooms are opting for a single, large table to seat family and friends on their conservative guest lists. More couples are planning a separate, casual cocktail party for out-of-town guests rather than inviting them to this elegant dinner, which should be reserved for immediate family, the bridal party and their guests and other ceremony participants. Snappening.com is an online event planning database that contains central Indiana's most comprehensive list of meeting and event venues - including restaurants and hotels. Since its 2011 launch, the site has provided over 100,000 consumers, venues and professional planners with an online service that makes event venue and event planner searches quick and easy, as well as provides highly localized event planning inspiration, tips and tools. Feel free to poke around on the site to see for yourself how helpful we are and perform your own searches. We estimate we'll save you anywhere from 4-8 hours of your own time by bringing all your options together in one well-appointed location. Page 8
TravelClick Survey Finds Hotel Demand Outlook Strong for 2013 By Claudette Covey
Hotels continue to see a steady increase in occupancy and revenue performance, according to data from the January 2013 TravelClick North American Hospitality Review (NAHR). For the first quarter of the year through the fourth, the current outlook is for moderate growth, with continued ADR being the key driver. “Based on TravelClick data, ADR continues to be the main source of revPAR growth heading into 2013,” said Tim Hart, executive vice president, enterprise research and development, TravelClick. “While both ADR and occupancy are growing – occupancy is improving more slowly while ADR is increasing at a slightly more rapid pace.” For January through December, committed occupancy across all segments is up 2 percent compared to a year ago. Based on reservations currently on the books, ADR is up 4.9 percent, compared to the same time last year. RevPAR is up 4.1 percent. Group sales are the driving force behind occupancy growth in 2013, up 2.2 percent. The survey found that group occupancy is showing the strongest gains in the second and third quarters. The transient segment, comprised of individual business and leisure travelers, which has been responsible for the majority of hotel sector growth in the past, is up 1.2 percent. Business demand, which includes weekday transient negotiated and transient retail segments, is down 2.5 percent while leisure demand, which includes transient discount, transient qualified segments and transient wholesale, is up 3.9 percent. Group ADR is up 2.8 percent and transient segment ADR is up 6.1 percent compared to last year. Business and leisure rates are up 7.1 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. For the first quarter of 2013 committed occupancy is up 1.4 percent and ADR is up 4.9 percent. Group committed occupancy for the first quarter of 2013 is up 1 percent while transient is up 1.9 percent. Breaking transient down further into business and leisure, business demand is down 2.4 percent while leisure is up 5.3 percent for the first quarter. ADR is up 4.9 percent in the first quarter compared to the same time last year. The increase is being driven by the transient segment, which is up 6.4 percent. Business and leisure rates are up 7.3 and 6.1 percent, respectively. Group segment ADR is up 2.6 percent. Based on TravelClick’s data, February looks to be the strongest month of the quarter with occupancy currently up 4.7 percent and revenue per available room (revPAR) up 8.0 percent, based on current reservations. “Transient business segment bookings for the first quarter are starting slow. It has been some time since we have seen a yearover-year decline in business segment demand,” Hart said. “However, while there is slightly less business travel taking place, ADR remains strong, indicating the hotels are holding their price position.” The January NAHR looks at group sales commitments and individual reservations in the 25 major North American markets for hotel stays that are booked by January 6for the period of January to December.
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Hotel Garden: Snow and Ice Management
By Ken Hutcheson , President, U.S. Lawns / Co-Authored by Mike Fitzpatrick, Vice President, U.S. Lawns With the winter season at the doorstep, there is nothing more important for the protection of a hotel property than proper snow and ice management. Treating walkways, plowing snow and patrolling for ice are all essential activities that will help ensure that a business will operate efficiently and safely throughout the colder months. In addition, proper snow and ice management will keep a hotel landscape looking hospitable and accessible despite inclement weather that could otherwise pose potentially dangerous conditions. Winter weather comes in many forms, all of which present potential harm to a hotel landscape. Snow can inhibit patrons by either blocking access to buildings and driveways or by covering walkways designed to direct customers to entrances and pathways. Snow can also block employee access to parking lots. Heavy snow accumulation can cause damage to structures as it promotes cracking and leaking in building foundations. Properly clearing snow will keep a business accessible in even the worst weather, ensuring operations are able to continue and revenues will not be restricted due to weather. Maintaining access to facilities and parking is only one of many reasons to maintain control of snow accumulation on a hotel property. Snow build-up can negatively affect the exterior appearance of a property, deterring customers and reducing business traffic. And of course, most important is the safety of pedestrians and motorists. Excessive snow and ice accumulation can be extremely hazardous. Failure to maintain walkways can lead to serious injuries from slip and fall accidents. Proper winter weather management can considerably reduce the liability and risks taken on by any commercial business. Many landscape professionals are trained to tend to the safe upkeep of a business property in winter. Owners and managers of any business operating in a region susceptible to winter conditions should take care in choosing the right landscape professional for the job. Selecting an experienced and trusted landscape professional can ease winter worries and remove hassles for any business owner or manager. A properly equipped landscape professional should have all the necessary equipment and tools to safely care for a property and should be able to provide the expertise and experience to identify specific inclement weather care needs, and landscape professionals often track weather patterns, adjusting weather management techniques based on the immediate need. Snow management is an important part of maintaining a businessâ€™ image. For businesses that do not engage a landscape professional, it is important to remember that clearing snow can be a large task involving a significant number of manhours to keep pedestrian and vehicle areas clear. In many cold weather areas, a snowplow is necessary to keep driveways, parking lots and walkways open. Until some experience is gained, plowing can be a difficult challenge. Heavy snow can break plows or get equipment stuck; so if a large amount of snow is expected, it is wise to plow early and often. In addition to being potentially harmful to equipment, plowing deep snow can be very time consuming and require regular maintenance throughout the day. Regardless of the amount of snow or the size of the area needing to be cleared, removing snow is a challenging and sometimes dangerous task. Page 10
To help maintain safety around a building, snow should regularly be cleared from roofs. Leaving large amounts of snow on a roof can be dangerous as chunks may slide off and fall to the ground, causing harm to pedestrians, pets or vehicles and in extreme cases cause roof collapses due to extra weight load. Care should also be taken to keep snow from accumulating around the base of buildings. Allowing large amounts of heavy snow to sit close to walls can promote leaking that could eventually lead to flooding into structure walls and basements when the snow melts. Ice can be the most dangerous of the winter elements, posing a serious hazard for both pedestrians and drivers. Keeping ice from accumulating on walkways and driveways is extremely important as it considerably reduces the risk of an accident occurring. Unfortunately, ice can also be the most difficult winter weather element to manage. Unlike snow, ice is often best and easiest to manage before it forms. Lack of forethought and pre-treatment can mean relying on mechanical removal, which often demands considerable time and effort. Deicing can be done before or after ice forms, but prevention remains the most effective method of ice control. It is not uncommon for commercial and private properties to use salt or salt-based solutions to prevent the forming of ice on walkways and driveways. Salt works by softening ice and breaking the bonds between ice and cement, allowing for easier removal. If ice does form, it can still be treated with salt, but will involve much more effort to remove. After applying salt or a salt-based solution to ice coverage, sidewalks and walkways will need to be scraped either by hand or with an ice shovel. Salt is not, however, necessary in every case. If the temperature is above freezing, allowing ice to melt for a short time before removing it will lessen the effort needed to break it free from the cement. Regardless of whether deicing is required, it is imperative that all guests and employees are made aware of any ice hazard so the proper caution can be exercised. As deicing and ice management often involves the use of rock salt or a deicing solution to minimize ice coverage on sidewalks and walkways, it is important to select the right product. Some solutions contain types of salt that can be harmful to cement, animals or grass. Other products can be harmful to water supplies if absorbed into the soil or allowed to run off into sewers or drainage systems. There are a number of commonly used products on the market today for use in deicing. The most widely available of these products, sodium chloride solutions, are often the least expensive. Unfortunately, these pure rock salt solutions can harm plant life and mar cement if left for too long on ground surfaces. Potassium chloride and calcium chloride can also be used to soften ice and make it easier to clear. These options are usually more expensive than sodium chloride but cause less damage to ground areas and may melt ice coverage quicker than pure sodium chloride. More effective and less toxic to plant life, magnesium chloride solutions are the latest in ice management. Able to melt ice in
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Snow and Ice Story Continued...
contact with cement in temperatures as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit, magnesium chloride is extremely useful in pre-treatment as well as removing ice after it has already formed. Unlike sodium chloride, solutions of magnesium chloride do not leave a powder trace behind after they have dissolved.
Alternatively, deicing can also be managed using solutions containing urea. As the least corrosive deicer, solutions with a urea base are widely used in high traffic locations such as airports, hotels and parking structures because they are the least harmful to metal. As urea is commonly used in fertilizers, it should not be used in areas with plant life or areas that run off into gardens or lawns as it can promote unhealthy growth in winter. Unfortunately, urea-based solutions cannot perform in colder climates and are only rated for temperatures as low as 21 degrees Fahrenheit. Regardless of which methods of snow management and deicing are chosen for an area, it is sometimes not enough to keep walkways safe. In times of colder weather where the ground is continually freezing, the use of extra measures may be required in high traffic areas. While it is always a good idea to break up and remove ice, placing a layer of sand or gravel over areas of ice can help prevent slip and fall accidents by adding traction. This technique can also help prevent the formation of more ice build up as it does not allow ice to make contact with cement surfaces. Leaving the snow and ice management to a landscape professional is the best way to ensure the use of proper materials, techniques and tools for every region and business landscape. Winter weather does not have to interfere with the operations of a business; in fact it should attract customers and enhance the safety of employees and the public. By promptly removing snow and using ice melt products and sand, hotel business owners can deal with unexpected and extended cold spells quickly, minimizing interruptions to operational hours. By using these key tools and techniques, every hotel business can stay safe and operational this winter.
San Francisco: No. 1 city with growing hotel rates Indianapolis ranks in top 10 Hotels are poised to raise rates again in 2013 as travel continues to increase, particularly in big cities such as San Francisco. That's according to Jan Freitag, a senior executive at hotel industry tracker STR, New record: 1 billion hotel rooms sold 2012 was a banner year for the U.S. hotel industry. Collectively hoteliers sold more rooms than ever before â€” more than 1.1 billion. With all this room demand came pricing power, so the average daily rate (ADR) for a U.S. hotel increased 4.2% over 2011. This is just an average, so there were markets where hoteliers were able to charge a lot more than that, sometimes 10% more. The tables below show the average, year-over-year rate change for 20 U.S. markets: the 10 with the highest rate gains and the 10 with the weakest rate gains and losses. What's driving the rate changes in some markets? In West Texas and North Dakota, it's access to newly discovered energy sources and the resulting employment boom. San Francisco: City with biggest rate jump in 2012 Other markets benefit from being close to a city that has seen strong room demand. For example, room rates in San Francisco are up by almost 11% over last year. Some travelers are diverting to San Jose and Oakland in search for cheaper hotels. As a result, those markets reported average rate increases of more than 9% year over year. It's worth noting that of all the 162 markets that STR uses to
break out the USA, only eight reported room rates that were lower than a year before. Washington, D.C. is one of those cities where average rates declined, pointing at the prolonged struggle this market has with new supply, reliance on government per-diems and overall weak demand growth. For 2013, STR forecasts that room rates will increase another 4.9% over 2012. Of course, certain markets will see stronger growth and hoteliers in the Top 10 largest hotel markets will be able to increase rates by more. We also expect that chain hotels at the luxury end of the market will be able to increase room rates by 6.6%, outpacing all other chain-affiliated hotels. Looking ahead we expect that 2013 will be another good year for the US hotel industry and the good times for hoteliers should last all the way through the end of 2014. Top 10 U.S. markets with the biggest % ADR change Texas - West 20.8% Oahu Island, Hawaii 11.2% San Francisco/San Mateo, Calif. 10.8% North Dakota 10.4% San Jose-Santa Cruz, Calif. 9.8% Charlotte, 9.4% Oakland, 9.2% Indianapolis, 9% New Mexico South 8.9% New Orleans, 8.6% Bottom 10 U.S. markets with the weakest % ADR change Colorado Springs, 0.8% Tulsa, 0.5% Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas (0.2%) Augusta, Ga. (0.3%) Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (0.4%) New Jersey Shore (0.6%) Washington, D.C.-Md.-Va. (0.7%) California North Central (0.8%) Tucson, (1.1%) Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. (1.9%) Page 11
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