Briefs: CBRE revises US outlook; Wolfgramm Capital acquires Waldorf

CBRE revises outlook: CBRE has raised its forecast for the second half of 2022 in the US following industry gains in the second quarter and the expectation of marginally positive GDP growth in 2023. CBRE revised its forecast to a gain in RevPAR of 14.7% YOY, up from the earlier estimated 13.1% YOY. The revision is predicated on a 3.5 percentage point rise in expected ADR growth, compared to the earlier forecast issued in May, along with a 2.2 percentage point drop in CBRE’s demand forecast. Despite a drop in GDP and the highest inflation in over 40 years, hotel performance across the U.S. was stronger than projected in the second quarter due to the continued improvements in group business, inbound international travel and a peak in leisure travel this cycle. RevPAR touched US$98.84, up 38% YOY, and an all-time quarterly high at 106% of 2019’s level. RevPAR growth was driven mainly by ADR (up 25.5%), followed by occupancy (up 9.9%), highlighting travelers’ limited price sensitivity in several peak demand markets. Inflation continued to drive top-line growth and was also a headwind to margin growth, considering the rising wages, utilities, F&B costs and capex increases.

Waldorf Astoria at Park City, Utah

Wolfgramm Capital acquires Waldorf Astoria: Wolfgramm Capital has acquired Waldorf Astoria Park City hotel in Park City, Utah. The 160-room hotel was purchased off-market as part of an all-cash deal. The property, located at the base of Park City Mountain Resort, continues to be managed by Hilton. The luxury resort features ski in ski out access, an all-day dining restaurant and bar, a 16,000-square-feet spa, an outdoor patio and a pool.

New crowdfunding investment platform: Witness Investment and Hotel Equities have launched a hospitality real estate investment platform called Jali. It will focus on providing individual, accredited investors access to development, acquisition and value-add investment opportunities. Witness Investment Principals Sagar Patel and Aakash Patel, as well as Hotel Equities Fred Cerrone and Brad Rahinsky, developed the Jali platform in partnership with Capstcked Founder Marshall Clark, who previously led the development of the high-net-worth investor recruitment platforms at both Crowdstreet and Cadre, generating combined equity investments of nearly US$5 billion.

Capella to debut in Australia: Capella Hotels and Resorts, Singapore, has announced Capella Sydney, the group’s first property in Australia, will open in March 2023. The heritage-listed Department of Education building is being transformed to feature 192 rooms and suites, multiple dining venues, six meeting and conference rooms, a spa, fitness center and yoga platform. Capella has more openings lined up in Japan, Maldives and South Korea.

IHG reports unauthorized activity in tech systems: InterContinental Hotels Group has confirmed that parts of the company’s technology systems were subjected to “unauthorized activity,” leading to the company’s booking channels and other applications becoming “significantly disrupted” since Monday and is ongoing. IHG has implemented its response plans, alerted regulatory authorities and engaged external specialists to investigate the incident. The company’s hotels, however, are still able to operate and take reservations directly.

IHCL signs Ginger in India: The Indian Hotel Co. Ltd., Mumbai, India, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the tourism department of Assam state in Northeast India, for the construction of a luxury brand hotel near Manas National Park. As per the agreement between IHCL and the Assam Tourism Development Corp., the government will grant long-term leases in favor of IHCL to construct a luxury Ginger-branded hotel near the national park. The company will build the hotel by itself or through a partner/investor.

UKHospitality seeks support package: UKHospitality has urged new U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss to “act quickly and decisively” to address the surging energy bills and save the hospitality sector. With the right kind of support — reduced headline rate of VAT for the sector to 12.5%, business rates holiday, deferral of all environment levies, reinstatement of an HMRC Time to Pay scheme and reintroduction of a trade credit insurance scheme for energy — the industry will be in a better situation to aid growth by generating employment and local investment, UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said. Before the pandemic, the sector spent £10 billion (US$11.49 billion) in high-street regeneration and employed 3.2 million people. However, with energy costs for hospitality businesses rising 300% on average, the industry “desperately” needs a package of support, Nicholls added.

Ireland market update: Hotel market in Ireland has rebounded from the pandemic at a faster pace than expectations, driven by the full lifting of restrictions, pent-up demand and “revenge travel,” as per the latest study by Horwath HTL Ireland. Occupancy YTD July was 73.6%, which was 8.6 percentage points below the same period in 2019. This dip was a result of lower occupancy at the beginning of the year, but occupancy rebounded to 2019 levels in April. ADR jumped 12% on pre-pandemic levels to €155.57 (US$154.22) YTD July 2022. ADR also surpassed 2019 levels since February, with ADR for May and June standing at €176.46 (US$175.06) and €197.96 (US$196.39) respectively. These rates have not been recorded in Dublin before. While revenues may have increased, with the inflationary pressures of increased energy, labor and food expenses, profitability continues to be subdued.

Covivio Hotels names new deputy CEO: Covivio Hotels, Paris, France, has appointed Sébastien de Courtivron as deputy CEO. Alongside Covivio Hotels CEO Tugdual Millet, Courtivron will manage and develop the operating hotel portfolio. He began his career with the Disney/Eurodisney group and joined the AccorHotels group in 2007. Most recently, Courtivron was the regional director Western Europe at Radisson Hotel Group.

Fiji removes post-arrival test requirement: In a step towards restoring normalcy for tourism, Fiji has removed the post-arrival COVID-19 testing mandate. Effective Monday, international travelers will no longer be required to take a test upon arriving in the country and no test results or proof of test bookings will be required to board flights to Fiji. Fiji has also shortened the mandatory isolation for travelers who test positive to five days from seven days. While mandatory post-arrival testing has been scrapped, testing will be required for those who develop COVID-19 symptoms, which incoming travelers will be asked to self-report on an immigration arrival card.

Aimbridge Hospitality adds in Dallas: Aimbridge Hospitality, Plano, Texas, has added the HALL Arts Hotel in Dallas Arts District, Texas, which will be managed under its specialized Full Service Division operating branded full-service resorts and luxury hotels. The 183-room luxury hotel includes more than 8,000 square feet of conference and private events space, a rooftop pool, a contemporary art collection, a restaurant, a fitness studio and a spa. The first one to open in the Dallas Arts District, the hotel was developed by Craig and Kathryn Hall and was designed by HKS Architects with interiors by Bentel & Bentel.