The laundry-on-vacation goldrush (Hilton)
The laundry-on-vacation goldrush (Hilton)
Somebody call Scooby and the gang: a mysterious company snapped up a California ghost town for $22.5M. No word yet on the new owner’s plans, but any meddling kids looking to investigate should keep an eye out for g-g-g-ghosts.
Stocks sagged yesterday as investors eyed the quickly approaching debt ceiling, which the US gov’t could hit as soon as next week. Negotiations between House Republicans and the White House continued with little progress.
Putting down roots… The US’s two largest hotel chains, Marriott and Hilton, are launching extended-stay brands to tap into the growing market for longer bookings in apartment-style units. Extended-stay travel (20+ nights) has boomed since the remote-work shift gave employees greater flexibility. Now the hospitality industry is betting it’ll be a long-term moneymaker through economic ups and downs.
Forget the minibar: Hilton’s extended-stay rooms will feature kitchens with a full fridge, dishwasher, and cooktop. Lobbies will have markets for snacks and toiletries, and there’ll be shared laundry facilities.
Competing with rent: Marriott plans to price extended-stay rooms at $80/night, while Hilton looks to charge $100. The average US hotel room rate last year = $150/night.
Low vacancy: Extended-stay hotels had a 75% occupancy rate last year, up from 2021 and well above the overall hotel-occupancy rate of 63%. Last quarter, nearly a fifth of Airbnb's nights booked were for long-term stays.
Status: work from beach… Extended stays are no longer just for those relocating for a job or workers on temp assignments. As millions have disconnected from the 9-to-5 office life, blended business-leisure travel (#bleisure) has allowed for longer trips. Biggies like Hyatt, Wyndham, and Best Western parent BWH plan to give guests the local lifestyle with extended-stay chains. They’re hoping to attract restless WFHers fed up with the excessive cleaning fees, long chore lists, and rising rates on Airbnb.
You can’t rely on vacay mode… While the travel industry is enjoying huge summer demand, hotels are bracing for a potential downturn. Doubling down on the affordable extended-stay model can help them recession-proof. Plus, less guest turnover means lower staffing costs and higher margins from not changing sheets every day.
It’s not a cat filter on the Zoom call… it’s an actual cat. Walmart is partnering with pet-telehealth provider Pawp to offer veterinarian video calls as a perk for Walmart+ members. Subscribers to Walmart’s Amazon Prime competitor can now get unlimited free virtual vet visits for a year (and Fluffy McFluffhead can meow his symptoms into the mic).
Not a streaming service: Launched in 2020, Walmart+ is the retailer’s cheaper Prime rival (cost: $13/month or $98/year).
Perks in the cart: The creatively named membership offers benefits like unlimited free same-day grocery delivery and fuel savings at 14K+ spots.
Grass-fed organic lamb for Fido… canned peas for Francis. While a lot of Americans have been cutting back on personal splurges, they’re not skimping on their fur babies. Adding pet perks to boost subs is a timely move by Walmart as spending in the category explodes: the US pet market, already worth $124B, is expected to balloon to $200B by 2030. Pet owners are spending on everything from premium treats to $250 salon groomings. Healthcare services, including vets and insurance, are driving the spending surge. Last month, Washington state rolled out a law to regulate pet insurance.
A niche can help you go mainstream… With an estimated 11M+ subs as of last year, Walmart+ is still far behind Prime (~200M members). But Walmart could inch closer to Amazon’s lead by leaning on its key strengths (like discount groceries) and unique perks (like pet telehealth). In a recent earnings call, Walmart said that members spend more than non-members. Boosting subscription revenue could become more important as spending on discretionary goodies sags.
💵 When you pay in cash so that it doesn't show up on your credit-card bill…
Like an anonymous Venmo, crypto mixers can offer privacy on public blockchains by hiding a coin’s transaction history. Broadly speaking, these services break the connective tissue between crypto put in and crypto pulled out, allowing folks to move digital currency more anonymously. Last year mixers processed nearly $8B in cryptocurrency.
Tornado Cash, a mixer sanctioned by the US government last year, was hijacked. The attacker swapped stolen tokens for 372 ethereum (worth about $688K), before using the Tornado Cash smart contract itself to mix the loot.
FixerNoper: Lowe's beat expectations but followed rival Home Depot in lowering its annual forecast. Customers who picked up home-reno hobbies during the pandemic are losing interest and tightening their budgets.
Iffy: Meta sold Giphy to Shutterstock for $53M — just a fifth of what it paid for the biz two years ago — after UK regulators blocked the deal. Giphy was worth $600M in 2016, but Gen Z has apparently deemed GIFs uncool.
AI: Double scoop of artificial-intelligence news with (1) Adobe adding AI image creation tools to Photoshop and (2) Universal Music Group using AI to create “soundscapes.” AI’s potential to replace artists is controversial.
It costs retailers an average of $27 to process $100 in returned merchandise
Fed May minutes released
Earnings expected from Kohl’s, Petco, Abercrombie & Fitch, Nvidia, e.l.f. Beauty, and American Eagle
Authors of this Snacks own ethereum and shares of: Apple, Amazon, Nvidia, and Walmart