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"Revenge travel" fuels hotel sector's speedy comeback

"Revenge travel"— i.e., making up for trip time lost during lockdown — is here.

Why it matters: The result is a speedier comeback for the beaten-down hotel industry that few predicted.

Driving the news: New York City hotel rooms last weekend were 72% occupied, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

  • "The expectation was ... how many years and years and years would it take to recover? Well, guess what? The recovery is happening a lot quicker than anyone imagined," de Blasio said.

Flashback: The pandemic forced the greatest downturn the hotel industry has ever seen.

  • The biggest players piled on debt, laid off workers and slashed costs. Others took advantage of paused loan payments and small business aid.

What's happening: Revenue per available room — a key gauge of the hotel industry's health — in a group of resort-area hotels (places like Key West or Miami) are above 2019 levels, UBS analyst Robin Farley wrote Wednesday in a note to clients.

  • America's hotel room occupancy (83%) was the highest since October 2019 during Memorial Day weekend, according to hospitality data firm STR.

But, but, but: For some hotels, complete recovery is out of reach until business travel and events are back in full force.

  • Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt get anywhere from 60–80% of their business from corporate travelers or event-related guests, says Jim Dunn, a leisure analyst at CreditSights.
  • "Investors are looking at Labor Day as sort of a demarcation for when we'll start to see the next leg of recovery in corporate travel," says Dunn.

What to watch: The industry is at the center of the worker shortage debate — a problem that could hamper its recovery.

  • "If you can't find enough housekeeping staff to clean all the rooms ... you can't rent the rooms the next night," says STR's Alison Hoyt.

Lordstown Motors: A tale of hubris, political pandering and regulatory failure

Lordstown Motors is the quintessential business fiasco. Equal parts hubris, political pandering and regulatory failure.

Why it matters: There's no indication that anyone will learn their lesson, except perhaps for some random retail investors who didn't diversify.

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GM boosts investment in electric, autonomous vehicles by $8 billion

General Motors plans to boost its cumulative investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion from 2020-2025, a significant jump from a $27 billion target.

Driving the news: GM said this morning that the initiative will include building two new battery cell manufacturing plants in addition to the two already under construction in Tennessee and Ohio.

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Biden administration buys 200 million additional doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine

The Biden administration has purchased an additional 200 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine, the biotech company announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Moderna says the additional doses could be used to vaccinate children or — if necessary — as a booster shot.

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Live updates: Biden and Putin land in Geneva ahead of summit

President Biden is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for five hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: Putin arrived in Geneva shortly before 7 a.m. ET and traveled via motorcade to Villa La Grange, a mansion set in a 75-acre park overlooking Lake Geneva. Biden arrived at around 7:20 a.m. ET. The two leaders are expected to take a photo with Swiss President Guy Parmelin before the meeting begins.

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Biden-Putin summit: What to expect when you're not expecting much

After a bitter blast from Putin and tough talk from Biden, both sides agree: Don't count on much from Wednesday's summit between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What they're saying: "We’re not expecting a big set of deliverables out of this meeting," a senior Biden administration official told reporters on Air Force One from Brussels to Geneva. "No breaking of bread."

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Florida's early reopening could make it a business travel mecca

As post-pandemic business travel comes back, experts say Florida's reopening policies should allow it to lock in a significant share of returning corporate events and meetings.

Why it matters: There's a lot of money to be made — with a lot of people itching to travel — after the sector lost $97 billion in spending last year, according to a new Tourism Economics analysis by the U.S. Travel Association.

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There isn’t a worker shortage in the U.S. — there’s been a worker awakening

Many politicians, pundits and business owners have said pandemic-era enhanced unemployment benefits are keeping would-be workers at home. But that's a much too simplistic explanation of today's employment situation.

The big picture: Many hard-hit sectors are rebounding faster than anecdotal evidence would suggest. And when jobs are hard to fill, a broader worker awakening over the past year is part of the reason.

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Biden's surprise pick for FTC chair, a leading tech critic, is already rocking boats

By naming tech critic Lina Khan to chair the Federal Trade Commission Tuesday, the White House made clear it is dead serious about antitrust enforcement and other measures to rein in Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

The intrigue: By naming Khan FTC chair just hours after the Senate confirmed her appointment as one of five commissioners at the agency, the White House took both the industry and many D.C. insiders by surprise.

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