Briefs: Draw of blended travel; London sees record room rates

Employees look for blended travel opportunities: Employers are now facing the pressure to adopt flexible working conditions and blended travel to retain and attract talent, revealed a new study by YouGov commissioned by IHG’s Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. About 54% of the survey’s respondents said flexibility in working hours is as important as a high salary (56%) or a four-day work week (36%). About 65% of millennials and 59% of Gen Zs said they would prefer to work for a company which offers flexible blended travel possibilities as a perk. Around 35% of U.S. consumers said combining work travel and leisure would be beneficial to them and enable greater flexibility and 36% said they would add on average of two to three additional leisure days on their future business trips. Crowne Plaza’s ‘Blended Travel’ white paper found that four out of five business executives feel that unless they increased their business travel, their personal (80%) and professional (80%) lives would be impacted. Keeping in mind the trend of blended travel, Crowne Plaza plans to build 107 new properties (27,342 room) in the next three years and renovate 50% of its current portfolio comprising more than 400 hotels.

Ritz Hotel, London

Record room rates in London: London hotels posted the highest monthly room rates, as per STR’s preliminary June data.

  • Occupancy: 83.1%
  • ADR: £209 (US$248.12)
  • RevPAR: £173.60 (US$206.10)

The absolute ADR and RevPAR levels were the highest for any month in STR’s London database. The absolute occupancy level was the highest in London since July 2019 but was still 7.3% lower than the June 2019 comparable.

Riyadh performance: Occupancies in Riyadh were higher than the previous month but room rates were lower, according to STR’s preliminary June data.

  • Occupancy: 56.5%
  • ADR: SAR580.61 (US$154.61)
  • RevPAR: SAR328.17 (US$87.39)

While ADR and RevPAR declined month-over-month, all three key performance metrics were higher than the pre-pandemic comparable.

Melbourne performance improves: Melbourne saw higher performance from the previous month, revealed the preliminary June data from STR.

  • Occupancy: 61.1%
  • ADR: AU$210.54 (US$141.94)
  • RevPAR: AU$128.72 (US$86.77)

Although occupancy was much less than the 2019 comparable (72.2%), ADR was up by AU$42 (US$28.31). In terms of daily data, Melbourne hotels saw 29 days of occupancy levels above 50%. While demand strengthens each month, occupancy growth has been marginally less due to supply increases. As of July 4, STR’s Forward STAR data shows the remainder of this month holding 48% occupancy on the books, which supports the sustained occupancy recovery.

1754 Properties, Argosy acquires Jacksonville Best Western: 1754 Properties, Weston, Florida, in partnership with Wayne, Pennsylvania-based Argosy Real Estate Partners has acquired the 164-key Best Western Premier in Southside/Deerwood Park submarket of Jacksonville, Florida. The hotel will undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation, as part of a rebranding process to become a Delta by Marriott. 1754 Properties is looking to hire new employees to prepare the existing team for the hotel’s transformation and full operations.

Guest satisfaction study: The overall hotel guest satisfaction has dipped eight points (on a 1,000-point scale) from 2021, mostly due to dissatisfaction with cost and fees and guest rooms, revealed the lates J.D. Power 2022 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. The other factors pulling down guest satisfaction with guest rooms indicated that guests feel they are not getting their money’s worth amid the rise in room charges. While hotels still get comparatively high satisfaction scores for room cleanliness, scores for furnishings and décor, in-room services and quality of bathrooms fell from a year ago. Wi-Fi emerged as the amenity that guests cannot do without, as 81% of guests accessed the internet in their rooms. Percentage of guests who paid more for the privilege rose by four percentage points from 2019. While fewer guests interacted with the front desk staff and breakfast attendants this year compared to 2019, they still give staff high ratings for courtesy.