Briefs: Credit Suisse to sell Zurich’s Mandarin; Hyatt collaborates with Lindner

Credit Suisse to sell Zurich’s Mandarin: Credit Suisse Group plans to sell the Mandarin Oriental Savoy Zurich. The beleaguered Swiss bank is reportedly working with an adviser to solicit interest in the hotel, which was earlier known as the Savoy Hotel Baur en Ville. The almost 200-year-old hotel is expected to be worth CHF400 million (US$407.08 million). In 2020, Credit Suisse announced that the hotel would close in early 2022 and open in mid-2024 during which it would undergo renovations. The number of keys was expected to reduce to 80 from 104 to create more spacious rooms. The sale of the hotel reportedly has no links with a strategic review planned on October 27.

Livingstone brothers buy stake in Whitbread: British billionaire brother and property tycoons Ian and Richard Livingstone have acquired a £165 million (US$187.52 million) stake in Whitbread, owner of Premier Inn. The brothers purchased 3.5% of Whitbread in September through L&R Ventures Ltd. L&R’s portfolio consists of Atlas Hotels and Iconic Luxury Hotels, which includes Cliveden House in Berkshire and the Fairmont Monte Carlo. There has been no indication of the Livingstones planning to acquire Whitbread, which owns over 800 Premier Inn hotels across the U.K., along with the Beefeater and Thyme Bar & Grill brands, and dozens of hotels in Germany. 

Lindner Hotel am Michel, Hamburg

Hyatt collaborates with Lindner Hotels: Hyatt Hotels Corp. has entered into an exclusive collaboration agreement with Lindner Hotels AG, a family-run German hotel company, where more than 30 hotels in seven European countries will join the Hyatt brand portfolio and will be integrated into the World of Hyatt loyalty program. Most of the properties will transition to the JdV by Hyatt brand. The agreement will grow Hyatt’s presence to 15 new markets and expand distribution in major destinations like Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Frankfurt. Founded in 1973 by architect Otto Lindner, Lindner Hotels operates properties under the Lindner Hotels & Resorts across Germany and in central and eastern Europe. Lindner’s portfolio will grow Hyatt’s lifestyle footprint with the addition of 5,500 rooms.

PwC holiday outlook: PwC has issued a 2022 holiday outlook, suggesting a travel surge is forthcoming. It said 47% of respondents to its survey are planning to travel this holiday season — a huge bump from the roughly one-third traveling pre-pandemic. Fewer are planning to stay with family and friends (42% vs. 46% YoY); more are planning to stay in independent hotels (26% vs. 20%), short-term rentals (21% vs. 18%), and all-inclusive facilities (19% vs. 13%). Branded hotels have remained steady with 45% likely to stay in one both last year and this year. Rising hotel costs are the third-biggest travel concern (58%), only led by gas prices (74%) and rising travel costs (58%). Despite their elevated COVID-19 concerns, millennials (aged 26-40) are most likely to travel this holiday season: 63% vs. 47% over all age groups. It said online booking sites are the most popular way to book travel, with 45% of travelers — and almost 60% of traveling millennials — using them for holiday travel.

US performance falls: Hotel performance in the U.S. fell from the last week and showed mixed comparisons with 2019, as expected with the Rosh Hashanah holiday, as per STR’s latest data.

  • Occupancy: 66.4% (-2.4%)
  • ADR: US$149.71 (+15.7%)
  • RevPAR: US$99.36 (+12.9%)

Along with the Rosh Hashanah impact on business travel and groups in the key markets, there were shifts in demand in the southeast region caused by Hurricane Ian. Among the top 25 markets, Phoenix saw the highest occupancy increase over 2019 (+7.5% to 69.7%). San Diego reported the largest ADR gain (+29.8% to US$203.71), while San Francisco was the only market to witness a drop in ADR (-2.8% to US$234.73). The steepest RevPAR declines were recorded in San Francisco (-14.1% to US$176.63) and Minneapolis (-10% to US$79.76).

Travel volume to US surges: Total international travel volume to the U.S. surged 160.8% to 5,210,752 in July 2022 compared to July 2021, as per data by the National Travel and Tourism Office. Overseas visitor volume to the U.S. jumped 199.7% to 2,589,898. This July was the 16th consecutive month that total non-U.S. resident international arrivals to the country increased on a YOY basis. The highest international visitor arrivals were from Canada (1,467,348), Mexico (1,153,506), U.K. (361,313), France (169,994) and Germany (163,675). Combined, these top five source markets represent 63.6% of total international arrivals. International outbound travel volume from the U.S. saw a 63% YOY increase of 9,177,301 and reached 85% of July 2019 departures.

Lodging Dynamics adds to portfolio: Lodging Dynamics Hospitality Group, Provo, Utah, will assume management of Park City Peaks Hotel in Park City, Utah. The boutique hotel offers 123 rooms, a restaurant and bar. Lodging Dynamics Hospitality Group has also announced the appointment of Ezequiel Guzman as the general manager.

Inflation impacts Americans’ travel plans: Americans have been tweaking their holiday plans to avoid overshooting their budgets amid high inflation, revealed the latest survey by Bankrate. About 42% of U.S. adults plan to take overnight leisure trips between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, of which 79% are adapting to surging prices for travel in several ways. For instance, 26% are decreasing the duration of their trips, 25% are opting for cheaper destinations or accommodations, 24% are taking lesser trips, 23% are traveling shorter distances and 23% plan to drive. The price rise seems to impact travelers with lower incomes disproportionately. Around 86% of households with annual income less than US$50,000 are adjusting their travel plans compared to 70% of those earning US$100,000.

Restaurant operators at St. Regis Chicago: Magellan Development Group, Chicago, Illinois, has named Chicago-based Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants as the food and beverage operator of two restaurants at the 192-room St. Regis Chicago which is expected to open in spring 2023. The first restaurant will be an all-day dining venue from chef Hisanobu Osaka (formerly of Morimoto, Daniel), which opens in spring 2023. The second restaurant will be in collaboration with two-time James Beard nominated chef Evan Funke (Felix, Mother Wolf). Designed by architect Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang, the 101-story hotel will be the third-tallest building in Chicago and include The Residences at The St. Regis Chicago, comprising 393 condominiums.

Hope for Japan’s tourism: Japan’s tourism is set to see a recovery as the services sector activity recorded growth in September amid recovery of demand on fewer COVID cases and the prospect of relaxing travel restrictions. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said inbound tourism spending would be increased to over 5 trillion yen (US$34.62 billion) a year, anticipating to benefit from the windfalls brought by the yen’s recent decline to a 24-year low against the dollar. Japan is set to scrap its border policies next week, including dropping a limit on daily arrivals, as the government hopes the local currency’s sharp fall against the dollar and other major currencies will attract tourists.

GBTA poll on business travel recovery: U.S. business travel volume continues to see a rebound compared to 2019 levels, with travel managers estimating that their company’s domestic business travel volume has returned to 63% and international business travel is back to 50%, revealed the October GBTA Business Travel Recovery survey. About 26% of respondents said their international business travel volume has recovered over 70% of their company’s pre-pandemic levels. About 75% of travel buyers said their company did not have any immediate plans to restrict business travel on account of economic concerns. Domestic travel continues to lead recovery, with 86% stating that non-essential domestic business travel was sometimes or usually permitted.