Briefs: Electra America grows in D.C., Avistone’s acquisition, new leadership

Electra America Hospitality acquires in Washington, D.C.: Electra America Hospitality Group, a joint venture between Electra America and AKA, has acquired the 152-room One Washington Circle Hotel in Washington D.C. for an undisclosed price from George Washington University. The hotel is set to undergo a US$30 million renovation and will reopen in June 2023 as an AKA-branded luxury hotel residence specializing in weekly and monthly stays. This marks Electra America’s fifth acquisition since the jv launched in early 2021.

Oak View appointments: Oak View Group announced the appointments of casino/resort executive Randy Morton as president, OVG Las Vegas hotel & casino, and sports industry executive and former president of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders Marc Badain as president, OVG Las Vegas sports & entertainment venues. Morton and Badain will be oversee the development of building an integrated NBA-ready arena and resort in Las Vegas. They will also work for the joint venture of partners of the project where OVG is the managing partner. Oak View also announced the appointment of Patrick Crockett as hotel-casino financial consultant. The appointments come on the heels of the company’s recent opening of Moddy Center, the US$375 million, 15,000-seat venue at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas; the launch of its newest division, OVG Canada; and the groundbreaking of the Baltimore Arena, a US$200 million privately funded, 12-month redevelopment project of the former Baltimore Civic Center and Royal Farms Arena.

WTTC report on hotel investment: The international travel sector lost 62 million jobs and its GDP contribution halved, amounting to losses worth US$4.9 trillion, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s new report ‘Critical Factors to Attract Hotel Investment.’ Capital investment in the sector also plunged during the pandemic from nearly US$1.1 trillion in 2019 to only US$805 billion in 2020, representing a dip of around 25%. Investment in the sector continued to decline in 2021, with a further 6.9% decline to US$750 billion. The report predicted a robust growth in the travel and tourism investment over the next decade. Along with political stability and liquidity, which are considered essential for investment, open and consistent government action and support, favorable tax incentives, and safety and security were identified as the prerequisites to attract investments. South Korea ranked as one of the best-connected globally, as the announcement of the country as the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics boosted investment in transport infrastructure, which helped a 15% surge in hotel room supply, outdoing the overall travel and tourism capital investment growth of 8.7% in 2017.

Courtyard Dulles Airport Herndon in Herndon, Virginia

Avistone’s acquisition, new leadership: Avistone, San Diego, California, has acquired the 187-key Courtyard Dulles Airport Herndon in Herndon, Virginia, marking the company’s first acquisition in Virginia. Avistone also announced it had appointed Youngbin Park as vice president, lodging investments. Before joining Avistone, Park held roles with organizations like Hersha Hospitality Management, Brookfield’s Thayer Lodging Group, Trimont Real Estate Advisors and Silverpeak Real Estate Partners. Avistone’s Managing Director, Lodging Investments Charlie Muller will be transitioning into an advisory role.

Blackstone’s Crown acquisition approved: Australia’s Federal Court has approved the US$6.3 billion acquisition of Crown Resorts Ltd. by Blackstone Inc., allowing billionaire James Packer to exit the beleaguered Australian casino company. Packer owns a 37% stake in Crown. Shareholders of Crown will get UA$13.10 (US$9.05) cash per share on June 24, the expected date of implementation of the scheme. State regulators had said the company would be subject to strict conditions, which includes additional auditing and a commitment to invest in and maintain Crown’s casino in Perth.

Berlin posts best performance: Berlin’s hotel industry posted its highest monthly occupancy and room rates since late 2019, as per preliminary May data from STR.

  • Occupancy: 77.9%
  • ADR: €114.19 (US$119.08)
  • RevPAR: €88.90 (US$92.70)

The absolute occupancy level was the highest in the market since November 2019 but was still 6.7% less than the May 2019 comparable. The absolute ADR and RevPAR levels surpassed pre-pandemic comparables and were the highest in the market since September 2019.

Jeddah performance update: The hotel industry in Jeddah recorded its highest performance since September 2019, showed STR’s preliminary May data.

  • Occupancy: 64.4%
  • ADR: SAR901.40 (US$240.03)
  • RevPAR: SAR580.62 (US$154.61)

Although touching the highest level since September 2019, all of the key performance metrics were lower than the May 2019 comparables: occupancy (-6.4%), ADR (-29.4%) and RevPAR (-33.9%).

Sydney shows steady occupancy: Sydney’s hotel industry reported steady performance, despite room rates slipping marginally, according to STR’s preliminary May data.

  • Occupancy: 65.1%
  • ADR: AU$233.96 (US$161.63)
  • RevPAR: AU$152.32 (US$105.23)

In terms of daily data, Tuesday and Wednesday occupancy levels was between 65% and 75% and outperformed most of the Saturdays, reflecting rise in business demand. The month’s highest daily occupancy (82.8%) was recorded on May 28, the first Saturday of Vivid Sydney 2022. The event also drove ADR to AU$305.18 (US$210.83), which was up 10.7% from the previous Saturday.

FTI Consulting appoints receivers to sell Grand Cayman: FTI Consulting (Cayman) Ltd. announced that David Griffin and Iain Gow have been appointed as receivers of a Grand Cayman hotel, formerly known as the Margaritaville Beach Resort Grand Cayman, by the secured charge holder. FTI Consulting will soon launch a process to sell the resort. The 5-star, 285-room resort is located in the Seven Mile Beach corridor.

Sotherly closes DoubleTree sale: Sotherly Hotels, Williamsburg, Virginia, has closed on the sale of the DoubleTree by Hilton Raleigh Brownstone in Raleigh, North Carolina, for US$42 million. A portion of the proceeds was used to repay the first mortgage and repay a majority of the Kemmons Wilson secured note. The rest of the sale proceeds will be used to make any necessary distribution on the company’s preferred stock related to maintaining its REIT status and for generic corporate purposes. The hotel’s sale price equaled approximately a 14x EBITDA multiple and a 6.2% cap rate on 2019 results. Currently, Sotherly’s portfolio comprises investments in 10 properties totaling 2,786 rooms along with interests in two condominium hotels and its associated rental programs.

Pattaya trends and outlook: Pattaya, Thailand, has been evolving with an abundance of Eastern Economic Corridor infrastructure projects, growth of nearby industrial estates, mixed-use developments and top-tier branded hotels, lifestyle attractions and amenities along with year-round events and festivals, showed the Pattaya Hotel Market Trends & Outlook report by Horwath HTL. There are long-term plans for Utapao Aerocity and the development of smart cities around high-speed rail stations, which is likely to emerge as next generation economic and tourism drivers. Overall, Pattaya hotels are expected to see some demand and ADR growth this year with the return of international visitors. Between 2023 and 2025, the overall market is projected to gradually recover in both FIT and group sectors. Additionally, new hotels are likely to hold on to leisure and corporate demand. The overall RevPAR is not expected to recover to the previous high in the five-year projection period.

Preferred Hotel Group enhances loyalty program: Preferred Hotel Group, Newport Beach, California, has announced updates and enhanced benefits to its loyalty program, I Prefer Hotel Rewards. The enhancements include gift cards with 20% bonus value, Stay, Reward, Repeat Offer for members, I Prefer Reward Nights Plus and flexible member rate. Additional program updates include the launch of the I Prefer Auction, which will run from June 16 to 22. The auction offers a way to bid and win travel experiences, which includes a curated selection of 15 exclusive experiences.

Challenges persist for LGBTQ+ travelers: reports that while 72% of American LGBTQ+ travelers said their experiences were less than welcoming or uncomfortable, 65% said they had to consider their safety and wellbeing. About 67% of LGBTQ+ Americans have experienced discrimination while traveling, by being subjected to stereotyping (30%), by being stared at, laughed at or verbally abused by other travelers (19%) and/or locals (19%), the survey revealed. Almost 67% of the respondents said that being a part of the community affected their decisions while planning a holiday destination. About 48% of American LGBTQ+ travelers said their “bucket list” destinations had been affected by being a part of the community and 55% said being a member of the community affects who they choose to travel with. About 56% said being a member of the community affects the activities they participate in.

AHLA, AHLAF, ICHRIE partner: The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), the AHLA Foundation, and the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) announced a new strategic partnership to help grow the hospitality workforce. Areas of the collaboration include AHLA’s chief operating officer serving on ICHRIE’s new Industry Council to facilitate relationships with major suppliers and service providers, and ICHRIE distributing AHLA Foundation materials and enabling access to its memberships and communication channels. The organization will explore more opportunities to engage hospitality management faculty and students. ICHRIE’s membership includes over 350 academic institutions representing more than 120,000 hospitality students globally.