1. HOTEL INDUSTRY HOPES NEW TAX LAW WILL BRING BACK CORPORATE MEETINGS: In recent years, hotels have seen a drop in corporate meetings and conferences—but the industry hopes a new tax law will change that. The New York Times: “’The corporate and groups market has been sluggish and hasn’t responded as well to the economic growth,’ said Lorraine Sileo, senior vice president of research at Phocuswright, a travel market research firm. ‘There’s definitely a lot of optimism that this is just a segment that’s waiting to improve and that gains are expected.’ Back in November, executives at both Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide expressed hope that the proposed corporate tax cuts would prompt companies to spend more at hotels. The tax bill was signed in December, and by February, when both executives spoke with investors about their fourth-quarter earnings, they said there were indications that the tide had begun to turn. … TravelClick, which analyzes booking activity at 38,000 hotels, found that growth in overall bookings grew by 1.3 percent in February and 1.5 percent in March, year over year—meaningful gains, according to that company’s senior industry analyst, John Hach. ‘What we’re seeing is a consistent uptick in activity in organic growth that we hadn’t witnessed before the tax cut,’ he said. For the second half of 2018, the pace of group bookings is picking up, as well as business trips over all, he said. ‘That was not existent prior to tax reform.’ Still, some hotel industry analysts were not so quick to say that the corporate tax cuts would result in strong growth in the corporate meeting business. ‘It’s still too early to say, ‘Let’s loosen the purse strings,’’ said Michael Bellisario, senior research analyst at Robert W. Baird & Company. He noted that hotels had been raising prices as demand for their rooms had increased. ‘C.E.O.s and C.F.O.s are saying, ‘Watch your budgets.’’” https://nyti.ms/2ukH1c5
2. YOUTUBE TV IS THE FIRST-EVER PRESENTING SPONSOR FOR N.B.A. FINALS: YouTube TV will be the first-ever presenting sponsor for the N.B.A. Finals, which kick off Thursday. Variety: “Under the multiyear deal with the National Basketball League, YouTube TV also will be the presenting partner of finals for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the NBA G League, the NBA’s official minor league. The parties aren’t disclosing the length of the deal but it runs through at least 2019. The move comes after Google has inked several sports partnerships for YouTube TV in recent months, showing that it believes tying the ‘virtual’ pay-TV brand to live sports has been an effective customer-acquisition tool. … Under the NBA deal, a logo with ‘Presented by YouTube TV’ will be featured prominently during all NBA Finals games, including on the court and in-arena. In addition, YouTube TV will be featured in ABC ad spots and in-game callouts. YouTube TV branding also will be featured across the NBA’s digital and social-media channels. Earlier this month, YouTube TV added NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour network, as part of the base package (which increased for new subscribers from $35 to $40 per month as of March 13). NBA League Pass, the league’s out-of-market live game subscription service, will be available for YouTube TV members for an add-on option. ‘The NBA Finals on ABC, as well as the WNBA Finals and NBA G League Finals, are pinnacle events, and with YouTube TV we are excited to provide fans with new ways to experience the excitement of these championship series,’ said Dan Rossomondo, NBA’s SVP of global media and business development.” https://bit.ly/2GvWWca
3. PRESIDENT OF OSCARS BOARD DENIES SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS: John Bailey, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has denied allegations of sexual misconduct. The Hollywood Reporter: “Bailey's memo, sent Saturday, called the media reports 'false' and said they 'have served only to tarnish my 50 year career.' Later in the letter, he specifies the allegations, saying that there was a 'single named complaint' involving inappropriate touching while on a transport van on a movie set. Bailey categorically denies the claim, saying, 'That did not happen.' He then cited the Academy's new standards of conduct for members, instituted in December. 'The fact that the existence of an allegation even became public thwarts the confidential review process that the Academy adopted and is supposed to follow when receiving complaints,' Bailey wrote. The cinematographer also expressed confidence that the review process would exonerate him from the allegations. 'While there have been well documented instances of individuals in this industry not treating women with respect, I am not one of them,' Bailey wrote. An Academy subcommittee led by David Rubin began investigating the claims in mid-March. The Academy did not comment on the investigation, as per their review process, which rules the organization may comment following a completed investigation." https://bit.ly/2GdDHAS
* LOCAL NEWS *
LAS VEGAS: Palms Casino Resort will open steakhouse concept Scotch 80 Prime in May, as part of the property’s $620 million renovation. The restaurant will have a menu helmed by executive chef Barry S. Dakake and executive sous chef Mark Purdy.
LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation's fourth annual Blue Diamond Ball will take place June 11 at Dodger Stadium, and feature a concert by John Legend.
Philip Rubino has been appointed chef de cuisine of Jane Q at the Kimpton Everly Hotel in Hollywood, while Dan Rook has been promoted to beverage manager.
For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles
MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA: The fifth annual Business Information and Media Summit will take place November 12-14 at the Marriott Resort Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach.
NEW YORK: The grand opening of Sony Hall, a new music venue from Sony and Blue Note Entertainment Group, takes place tonight at Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel.
MoMa PS1's outdoor music series Warm Up will take place over 10 Saturdays, from June 30-September 1.
For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork
TORONTO: Toronto Public Library Foundation’s annual Biblio Bash fund-raiser will take place April 26. The event will be hosted by author and TV personality David Chilton, and include a private book club dinner with Margaret Atwood and the premiere of the library’s documentary short film We Are Library People.
Public yoga event Lolë White Tour will return to Exhibition Place July 26.
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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, and Ian Zelaya in New York.
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