Briefs: Avenir acquires Oregon collection; Swire partners with The Set

Avenir acquires Cannon Beach Hotel Collection: Avenir Hospitality has acquired from a private individual owner the Cannon Beach Hotel Collection, a portfolio of four boutique hotels in Cannon Beach, Oregon. Avenir has roped in Life House, the New York-headquartered hotel operator, to manage the hotels, which marks the company’s first properties in the Pacific Northwest. All the four hotels are located steps away from the beach, with the historic Cannon Beach Hotel at the heart of the collection. The hotel features a lobby and an adjacent restaurant, which will reopen soon, and serves as the check-in for the entire collection which includes The Courtyard, McBee Cottages and The Hearthstone Inn.

Williams, Grutman announce Bahamas resort: David Grutman of Miami Beach, Florida-based Groot Hospitality and entertainer Pharrell Williams have partnered with Atlantis Paradise Island to open Somewhere Else, a new resort which will take over the existing site of The Beach adjacent to Atlantis in the Bahamas. Slated to open in January 2024, the 400-key resort will feature dining venues, oceanfront beach, several pools and recreation areas, live entertainment and luxury amenities. Grutman and Williams have previously partnered for Swan, the Miami-based restaurant, and The Goodtime Hotel, a Miami Beach-based boutique concept. Shawn Sullivan, of David Rockwell’s global architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, will be the lead designer of the project. Atlantis Paradise Island currently houses five properties — The Royal, The Coral, The Reef, The Cove and Harborside Resort.

Opposite House Penthouse

Swire partners with The Set: The Set Collection, London, is adding four member properties and the first in Asia by striking a partnership with Swire Hotels. Hong Kong’s The Upper House, Beijing’s The Opposite House, Shanghai’s The Middle House and Chengdu’s The Temple House, all part of The House Collective by Swire Hotels join the existing, founding members of The Set Collection in Amsterdam’s Conservatorium hotel, Hotel Café Royal in London, Paris’ Hotel Lutetia and Jerusalem’s Mamilla Hotel. Swire Hotels said joining The Set Collection provides The House Collective a stronger representation to the luxury leisure travel networks and key trade shows globally.

US deal pace jumps 300% in Q4: The number of hotel deals in the United States in Q4 2021 skyrocketed 300%, while total dollar value jumped 250% and sales price per room increased 18% in comparison to Q4 2020, according to the LW Hospitality Advisors (LWHA) Q4 2021 Select Major U.S. Hotel Sales Survey. The LWHA Q4 survey includes 127 single asset sale transactions of more than US$10 million, with the total transactions totaling over US$9.1 billion. This includes around 26,100 hotel rooms with an average sale price per room of US$350,000. For the year 2021, the LWHA survey includes 308 single asset sale transactions over US$10 million. These deals totaled more than US$36.2 billion and included around 84,200 rooms with an average sale price per room of US$431,000. The survey revealed 57 trades (45% of the national Q4 total) took place in Florida and California. There were three major hotel trades more than US$2 million per unit each and four sales over US$1 million per room each. In 2021, institutional investment platform, most of which are lodging centric, ruled the hotel acquisition arena. Foreign money has returned to invest in the U.S. lodging assets, which helps underpin a market already flush with cash from huge gains in business and stock market.

Sonder, Gores Metropoulos II close business combination: Sonder Holdings Inc. announced the completion of the business combination with Gores Metropoulos II, Inc. The combination was approved during a meeting of Gores Metropoulos II shareholders on January 14. The combined company will operate as Sonder Holdings Inc. and begin trading its common stock and publicly traded warrants on the Nasdaq Global Select Market from Thursday. Sonder will draw on US$165 million in principal amount of Delayed Draw Notes after the closing of the business combination. Sonder will retain its management team, with Francis Davidson continuing to serve as co-founder and CEO and Sanjay Banker continuing to serve as president and chief financial officer. Goldman Sachs & Co. served as exclusive financial advisor to Sonder, while Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati served as legal advisor to Sonder. Morgan Stanley & Co. was the lead financial advisor and Deutsche Bank Securities and Citigroup were capital markets advisors to GM II. Moelis & Co. served as additional financial advisor to GM II. Weil, Gotshal & Manges acted as legal advisor to GM II.

Industry members seek urgent policies to restore travel demand: More than 600 travel industry members, representatives from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, have signed a letter to congressional leadership seeking immediate action on near-term federal policies to restore and expand the U.S. travel industry. The letter, which was delivered by the U.S. Travel Association to lawmakers, elaborates on measures that target the revival of domestic travel and international inbound travel sectors. According to Tourism Economic, without federal action to speed up the return of business and international travel demand, both of these vital segments will not fully recover before 2024. It said the following policies are required to revive the travel industry and ensure a speedy recovery — passage of the Restoring Brand USA Act (which transfers US$250 million in surplus revenue from the Travel Promotion Fund to restore Brand USA’s budget and support its efforts to bring back international visitors to all regions), provide targeted tax stimulus to restore spending on business travel, live entertainment and in-person events, and provide additional aid for relief grants to severely impacted travel businesses (by expanding eligibility for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program, or enacting a new relief program with a similar structure to RRF for travel-dependent businesses severely impaired by COVID-19 restrictions).

IHG’s new loyalty benefits: IHG Hotels & Resorts is making significant investments in its loyalty program and announced some of the changes that will be rolled out in the coming months. The new tier and bonus point earning system, which will begin from March, will allow members to earn more points faster and enable them to use them. Other changes include a new Gold Elite tier starting at 20 nights with a 40% bonus point structure, renaming of the Spire Elite tier to Diamond Elite to simplify member recognition (which will retain 100% bonus point structure) and improving bonus point earn levels across all the other Elite tiers. IHG Rewards members staying from January 1 onwards will count toward the new status when the program launches.

Hilton partners for new education benefit: Hilton has announced a partnership with Guild Education to provide its team members with an educational platform that will encourage them to pursue and attain their educational goals. Starting from this spring, team members at Hilton’s owned and managed properties and corporate locations across the U.S. can earn new educational credentials debt-free as they pursue their professional and personal goals. The education platform will offer options from high school completion, English-language learning, digital literacy, professional certifications in career areas like data analytics and technology, culinary and college degrees.

SEC probe against Ashford ends: Ashford Inc., Dallas, Texas, has received a letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stating that its probe has concluded and the enforcement staff does not plan to implement any action against the company. Braemar Hotels & Resorts and Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. each received a letter informing that the SEC investigation has ended and that the SEC will not take any action against the companies.

Accor launches business program: Accor announced the launch of Accor Business Offer Auto-Enrol, its new business program that is best suited for small and medium-sized business. The program will offer a seamless booking experience and businesses will benefit from preferential discounts from 5% to 9% across above 4,100 hotels. Accor said the program provides an automated contracting process and a smooth, efficient, and quick booking solution. Clients can visit Accor’s business travel website to enrol online. Preferential access codes are sent within 24 hours, allowing clients to start booking and saving on business trips immediately, with discounts of up to 9% applied automatically.