Marriott’s Green Program: short-term cuts, long-term problems

“People are the heart and soul of the hotel industry,” says the American Hotel and Lodging Association, but Marriott’s Green Program is a debit against its human capital account. Host Hotels & Resorts recently told investors that Marriott’s so-called ‘Green Choice’ programs are “positively impacting expenses,” but these programs have a damaging impact on hotel housekeepers:

  • Housekeepers say Green Choice rooms are harder to clean and are dirtier than rooms that are cleaned daily.
  • Because the rooms are so dirty, housekeepers report using larger quantities of hazardous chemicals. These products may “cause damage to eyes,” “cause severe irritation to skin,” and “irritate throat and respiratory system.”

  • The Green Choice program has been in practice longer at legacy Starwood hotels. An analysis of 23 legacy Starwood hotels over 9 cities shows that Legacy Starwood hotels had a 49% increase in the number of injuries between 2013 and 2017.
  • A survey of one hotel found 91% of housekeepers with lower seniority have been left off the schedule or lost hours as a result of Green Choice.

Read more

Are Hotel Strikes Smart for Pebblebrook Right Now?

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust has spent a year and considerable financial resources pursuing a merger with LaSalle Hotel Properties, which is on the cusp of being voted on and consummated. But both have high performing properties subject to rare hotel worker strikes at a critical time for the merger.

Moreover, if Pebblebrook is planning to sell large union properties to finance the merger, as is reported, why is it willing to bear a disproportionate share of the current Marriott strikes?

A new UNITE HERE report raises the following issues:

  • LaSalle and Pebblebrook have 9% and 10% of EBITDA respectively in hotels that are on strike
  • Is selling the Westin Copley Place during a strike optimal?
  • Why is Pebblebrook bearing the brunt of strikes if it is selling its largest union properties?
  • Does Pebblebrook need additional risks to the LaSalle deal in the closing days?

Read the full report.

Boston Globe: Union fighting a boardroom battle against Newton firm

Public companies are supposed to be answerable to shareholders, but those answers aren’t always what shareholders want to hear.

Witness the battle that hotel union Unite Here is waging against Hospitality Properties Trust, one of the Newton real estate investment firms overseen by Barry and Adam Portnoy.

The fight has gone on for a few years now. By the time HPT held its annual meeting June 15, Unite Here had key allies, including Institutional Shareholder Services (a major advisory firm for investors) and New York City’s comptroller’s office.  Read more.