CLEVELAND — A Cleveland woman is calling on a national travel website to take down a post that lists her address with fake photos from a fake host.

Linda Butts has been in her upstairs apartment of a house on E. 147th Street for five years.

She lives there with her daughter and grandkids.

“For me, home is — that’s your safe haven,” she said sitting on the front steps of the white house with green awnings Sunday night.

It was cooler outside the apartment than inside so on hot summer days, they aren’t home much but when they are “that’s what home is. It’s your space.”

But recently, after a man showed up at her door, her idea of home changed.

Two weeks ago, an innocuous-looking piece of mail arrived.

“It does not have a return address on it,” she said holding up the envelope. She thought it was junk mail but kept it around. She wasn’t sure why at the time, she said she’s glad she did.

The letter was from Booking.com, the travel and hotel website.

It said her house on E. 147th Street was about to be listed and ready for people to come to stay.

“I didn’t think anything of it until somebody showed up at my house,” she said.

A man arrived at her side door on Friday, Aug. 13, about 48 hours after the letter arrived. Butts told him he was mistaken, and he left without any issue.

When she remembered the letter, she started a Google search and found the fraudulent listing on Booking.com.

News 5 reached out to the company about the listing but as of 10 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 22, no one has responded.

In the listing, Butts found her address with photos from an apartment that were not hers. Calling itself “Ohio City Modern Loft Apartment,” the listing boasts amenities Butts does not have like a pool or “garden views”. At the bottom of the description, the page shows the listing has been “welcoming Booking.com guests since July 28, 2021.”

“People need to use Google,” Butts said. She thinks, if people did their research, they would see the images on the listing don’t match up with her house.

But people have been booking and showing up. Three times Butts or her downstairs neighbor answered the door to find people who showed up after booking a room.

“People spend money and they want what they spend their money on,” she said.

Sometime on Aug. 22, the website put a red disclaimer at the top of the misleading listing which read “We’re sorry, but this property isn’t taking reservations on our site right now.”

Booking with Disclaimer

News 5 Cleveland

For Butts, it isn’t enough.

“They need to say this is not one of our listings,” she said. She hopes it means no one else shows up at her door because the house on E. 147th Street, the one with her family inside, feels different now.

“It’s making me uneasy because I don’t

Negotiations between Hong Kong and Singapore over their much-delayed travel bubble are being hobbled by disagreements over antibody tests and vaccination rules against Covid-19, the Post has learned.

Sources familiar with the discussions on Tuesday said it was proposed that a unilateral decision by Hong Kong to require all of its residents to have had two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine at least a fortnight before departure be extended to Singaporeans.

Under the bubble, travellers from both cities would need to be fully inoculated, but the two governments have not agreed on vaccination rules.

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Another obstacle was a plan by Hong Kong to impose antibody tests on inbound travellers, one source revealed. The Hong Kong government attempted to partially align the bubble with a recent initiative to tie antibody levels to shorter mandatory quarantine periods for all incoming visitors.

Spikes in coronavirus cases twice delayed the much-awaited travel corridor, in November last year and then in May, but the recent hold-up is over the stumbling blocks.

“There are some sticking points,” the source said. “For example, the Singapore public regards the antibody test as intravenous and are less receptive to it.”

Both sides agreed to give it their best shot to ensure the travel bubble took off. But an insider said there were no plans for an announcement yet.

Tests link Hong Kong airport worker’s Covid-19 infection to four Russian cases

A source working on the travel arrangement at Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways also said the team had not been told about any announcement.

Also complicating matters is Singapore’s intention to shift away from seeking to achieve zero cases and towards treating Covid-19 as endemic, as it becomes increasingly apparent that there is no credible route to eliminating the virus completely.

Under this new approach, the city state will rely on vaccinations, frequent testing, and the use of new and effective therapeutic drugs as a basis for reopening its economy and allowing for quarantine-free travel.

The health ministry will also pivot away from reporting daily Covid-19 infection numbers, and focus instead on trends and the number of severely ill people, similar to how the flu is monitored.

“However, this is a public health concern for Hong Kong,” another source said.

The city’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, last month floated a plan to shorten the time fully vaccinated people with antibodies who also test negative for the virus must spend in quarantine. Scientists, however, still cannot conclusively agree on whether the presence of antibodies gives a person immunity to Covid-19.

Singapore also has different views on the efficacy of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine, one of two available in Hong Kong along with German firm BioNTech’s jab.

In Singapore, the government offered free jabs made by Pfizer-BioNTech

TAMPA BAY, Fla. — Now that most mask mandates have been lifted and more people are choosing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the demand for the leisure and hospitality industry has increased. People want to see movies with loved ones again, go out to eat at their favorite restaurants and stay at hotels to relax. However, while the industry is seeing an uptick in demand, they’re also seeing a lack of eager employees ready to work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that this past May, 5.3% of workers quit their jobs in the leisure and hospitality industries. This starkly contrasts the pre-pandemic quitting rate for the industry, which was 4.1% in February 2020. The number is a record high for the industry and is much higher than the average quit rate for all industries, which is about 2.5%.

But not only are workers in these industries quitting — it’s hard to even find workers to fill these positions in the first place. Tampa Bay hasn’t been excluded from this problem. In April, 22,700 hospitality and leisure jobs were lost in the Tampa area.

Workers’ reluctance to go back to work in these industries is linked to a few factors. Some are still concerned for their health, especially now that mask mandates are being lifted, while others might be searching for jobs in other industries while receiving supplemental unemployment benefits.

Some leisure and hospitality businesses are attempting to combat this issue by offering incentives and higher pay. According to Axios, on an annualized basis, the pay for these industries has been steadily rising at a 15.1% pace. Here in Tampa Bay, businesses like TradeWinds Resort are offering employees a $500 sign-on bonus after their first four months.

Those first four months are key; businesses are hoping that they can not only hire employees but keep them long-term as well. With about 764,000 leisure and hospitality workers quitting their jobs this past May alone, businesses will have to do more to keep their employees.

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Reuters – U.S. airlines are scrambling to add staff and upgrade technology as they face anger over prolonged call center wait times while tackling a surge in air travel following COVID-19 vaccinations.

“#Delta 9 hours wait on hold is this a way to run an airline,” read one Twitter post from a Delta Air Lines customer.

After a year of being cooped up, travelers are balancing the prospect of sunshine in Florida or fresh mountain air in Montana and Wyoming – among the fastest growing U.S. travel markets – with frustrations during the booking process.

By July, U.S. domestic air fares and capacity could approach pre-pandemic levels, according to experts, but overall staffing at the three legacy carriers shrunk by roughly 20% last year.

While travelers can easily book new vacations online for flight changes or travel credits — transactions that have soared during the pandemic — they often need to go through call centers, which are also managing a flurry of questions about COVID-19 travel restrictions and requirements. To support the increase in call volumes, Delta is adding staffing and overtime, hiring temporary summer contract workers and fast-tracking technology upgrades to self-service options, a spokesman said.

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“Our wait times are not currently where we’d like to them to be,” he said. American Airlines said it is hiring hundreds of reservations agents to help with the rise in calls, while United Airlines said it is working to shorten hold times through increased staffing and technology upgrades, without providing details. U.S. airlines received billions of dollars in government aid to pay salaries and protect jobs during the pandemic but also encouraged workers to take voluntary leave packages to slim staffing because they didn’t know how long the crisis, or the government aid, would last.

Willie Walsh, the head of the International Air Transport Association, said on Wednesday that the decisions by carriers across the globe to retire aircraft and make staff redundant could hamper the aviation industry’s recovery.

An explosion in U.S. domestic leisure travel demand as more Americans become vaccinated has taken many in the industry by surprise, leaving services from airports to rental car companies and hotels short-staffed.

The strength of the rebound has possible implications beyond the airline industry since economists say air traffic is closely tied to overall economic output and is frequently seen as a guide to consumer confidence.

However, analyst John Grant of flight data specialist OAG warned on Wednesday that U.S. domestic airline traffic may be “overheating,” suggesting that legacy carriers are likely to reshape their networks toward more international markets once they reopen.

Still, Grant said plans by U.S. ultra low-cost carriers and start-ups to build domestic capacity “has to be good news for all airports of all sizes across the United States in the next few years.”

(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

Travel experts say nationally 39-percent of jobs lost to the pandemic were in the hospitality industry.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis is one of the hottest hotel markets in the country as tourism sees some of the fastest signs of recovering from the pandemic.

As new hotels are opening and guests are booking, there’s just one problem: finding people to work in them.

Hyatt Hotels’ Nicholas Janysek notes the remarkable success of the new Hyatt Centric hotel recently opened on Beale Street.

“We were right in Memphis is going to bounce back quicker than some of your other destinations some of it simply on its location,” said Janysek.

A smash of a grand opening and a steady stream of people ever since.

Now the challenge is staffing the hotel to meet demand.

More than half-a-dozen new hotels opened in Downtown during the pandemic even as Kevin Kane of Memphis Tourism says hospitality workers were forced to quit because of the steep decrease in travel. 

“Our industry was so devastated over the last year with the COVID we probably lost percentage wise and maybe even numbers, but percentage wise we lost more employees than any other industry IN Tennessee,” said Kane.

Travel experts say nationally 39-percent of jobs lost to the pandemic were in the hospitality industry.

That’s about 4 in 10 jobs.

Many of those employees left the industry for good in search of jobs that might be more pandemic proof.

“Some people did pivot and go in a different direction cause they had to work and unfortunately as we’re getting going again we need people and we’re having a hard time getting people,” said Kane.

A job fair held just last week at the newly renovated Renasant Convention Center saw more than 40 hospitality job related businesses from hotels to attractions and restaurants. 

“We had over a hundred show up and about half of them will end up with job opportunities within our industry,” said Kane.

He says with 21,000 new rooms coming on the Memphis market, that equates to lots of jobs to make guests feel comfortable and right now Memphis and Shelby county’s hotel occupancy rate leads the country. 

“Tourism and hospitality has a lot of upward mobility,” said Kane. 

Hospitality experts say this is the perfect time to jump into an upper management position with companies like Hyatt.

“We really pull on all of those benefits to let people know what we can do for them as employees of not only this building, but Hyatt as a whole,” said Janysek.

Kane says more job fairs and are to come to get people into jobs in hospitality.

WASHINGTON — The anticipation for the U.S. jobs report for April, released Friday morning, was high.

Most experts agreed that after a yearlong pandemic, tens of millions of layoffs and widespread disease and death, a likely second straight month of nearly 1 million added jobs would send a clear signal: The economy was bounding back toward full health after a devastating recession.

Instead, the report was a clunker. To nearly everyone’s surprise, employers added a comparatively paltry 266,000 jobs, down drastically from a gain of 770,000 in March, which itself was revised down from an initially much higher figure of 916,000.

Once the shock wore off, economists grappled with a host of questions, starting with: What happened last month – and why? What did the tepid hiring gain say about the state of the job market and the economy? And is there really a labor shortage?

Q. So why was the job gain so low?

A. The broadest explanation is that any time an economy has to recover from a severe shock, it isn’t likely to proceed smoothly. But the pandemic may be causing a broader reshaping of the economy as companies, workers and customers adapt to a new normal. Month-to-month job gains will be choppy. In fact, the swiftness and strength of the recovery so far are themselves part of the cause.

Consumer confidence has surged, and many companies report soaring demand as Americans unleash pent-up desires to travel, eat out, and shop. Sales of new cars and homes are still rising. Yet because the economy is rebounding faster than almost anyone thought it would, many companies were caught flat-footed. Surging consumer demand has caused widespread shortages of parts and raw materials, including lumber, semiconductor chips and even chicken wings.

Now, workers themselves can be added to the list of shortages. Companies are advertising more jobs than they were before the pandemic, when the unemployment rate was a 50-year low of 3.5%. So they clearly want to add workers. Yet hiring stumbled in April because many employers couldn’t attract as many as they needed.

Q. Why aren’t employers able to hire more easily?

A. Several things: Millions of people avoided looking for a job in April because they feared becoming infected by the coronavirus, according to a government survey. About 2 million women have stopped looking for work since the pandemic, likely because of disruptions in schooling and child care. In April, all the net job growth went to men; women as a group lost jobs. In addition, construction companies and factories have been left short of parts because of clogged supply chains and have had to slow production. Hiring weakened in both sectors in April.

And some businesses complain that a $300-a-week federal unemployment benefit, provided in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package, has meant that many unemployed people can receive more income from unemployment aid than from their former jobs.

Jan Riggins, who manages two Express staffing offices in Fort Worth, Texas, said that some job