Briefs: Four Seasons grows in Egypt; IHG to South Korea

Four Seasons expands in Egypt: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, in partnership with real estate development company Talaat Moustafa Group, has announced plans for a portfolio expansion in Egypt with the addition of new hotels, residential offerings and property enhancements. Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Cairo Capital at Madinaty and Four Seasons Hotel Luxor will be launched in this phase of strategic growth, building upon the recent multi-million-dollar enhancements at Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Sharm El Sheikh, which doubled the property’s offerings with 69 private residences to the existing 77, dining venues and leisure activities. Slated to open in 2025, Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Cairo Capital at Madinaty will spread across 185 hectares and feature 346 rooms and suites, while the private residences will consist of 107 villas and 80 luxury residences. The property will include a standalone spa and fitness center, tennis and multi-sports courts, guided group classes, fitness equipment, and a ballroom. The property is being designed by Pierre Yves-Rochon. Scheduled to open in 2025, Four Seasons Hotel Luxor will offer 200 rooms and suites, each with views of the Nile River, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The hotel will also feature multiple restaurants and bars, a spa, a fitness center, several pools, luxury retail, a kid’s program, a young adults center and event space totaling 1,300 square meters. WATG Architects is leading the design of the building, with Wimberly Interiors overseeing the interiors. With these additions, Four Seasons will now manage over 300 private residences across several markets in Egypt. The growth into Egypt marks the 22nd year since the brand entered the Middle Eastern market.

Per diem lodging rates increase marginally: The General Services Administration is providing federal employees with a little more leeway on hotel costs for official travel, as the travel industry, as well as prices, recover from the pandemic. The base daily traveling allowances will rise to US$157 per day in 2022 from US$155 per day in 2021. Per diem lodging rates will account for the marginal rise, increasing to US$98 per night from US$96. Meals and incidental expenses will remain the same at US$59-79 per day. For feds who have an estimate of their travel plans for fiscal 2023, GSA has added a calculator tool that will enable them to search by state, city, zip code or a map to calculate the exact amount of their per diem. Per diem rates are based on ADR from the lodging industry and the GSA sets these rates every year. GSA has also noted that there are allowances for increased travel reimbursements where the standards rates are insufficient.

Rendering of InterContinental Pyeongtaek in Pyeongtaek, South Korea

IHG to South Korea: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts in partnership with Seraphim Development will open a 244-room hotel, InterContinental Pyeongtaek in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. Slated to open in 2025, the hotel will be the first global hotel brand in the Gyeonggi Province city and the fourth InterContinental hotel in Korea. IHG Hotels & Resorts has nine hotels across four brands in South Korea.

Hilton grows in Malaysia: Hilton has signed an agreement with Tradewinds Corp. Berhad, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to grow its flagship brand in Malaysia with Hilton Burau Bay Resort Langkawi. The resort enjoys a 600-meter beachfront and includes an executive lounge, five dining outlets, a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, basketball and tennis courts, an event space spanning 800 square meters, and a ballroom of 400 square meters. The property marks Tradewind’s fourth one with Hilton. Slated to open in 2024, the 251-key resort will be Hilton’s second property in Langkawi, joining The Nautilus Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton, which is scheduled to open in 2023. The property is a recent addition to Hilton’s portfolio of 13 hotels across three brands, with nine more in the pipeline, in Malaysia. 

Cross signs 2: Cross Hotels & Resorts, Bangkok, Thailand, has announced the signing of two new hotel management agreements in Bangkok and Pattaya with Evergreen Hospitality Co. Ltd. The deals mark a sustainable drive towards reducing overall emissions. Away Bangkok Sukhumvit is a 78-room boutique hotel, while the Cross Vibe South Pattaya offers 70 rooms. With this announcement, Cross has signed eight new agreements this year. Currently, Cross’s portfolio includes over 26 hotels under five brands in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan.

OTO Development names new CEO: OTO Development, Spartanburg, South Carolina, has named Todd Turner as its CEO, who will be succeeding fellow co-founder Corry Oakes who died unexpectedly on August 7. Together with Jim Ovenden, Oakes and Turner founded the namesake hotel development and hospitality management company in 2004, alongside George Dean Johnson and the late H. Wayne Huizenga. Previously, Turner served as VP/Real Estate at OTO Development, which is part of The Johnson Group and has worked at various other companies of The Johnson Group throughout his career.

Radisson rebrands Istanbul hotel: Radisson Hotel Group has announced the transformation and reopening of Radisson Blu Hotel, Vadistanbul in Istanbul, Turkey, as a Radisson Collection hotel, following extensive renovations. Radisson Collection Hotel, Vadistanbul will be the company’s second Radisson Collection hotel in Turkey and the first in Istanbul. The hotel offers 193 rooms with either city or forest views, a gym, spa, heated pool, Turkish bath, steam bath, hammam, a sauna with five treatment rooms for treatments and massages, a 1,000 square meter ballroom and over 300 square meters of meeting rooms and boardroom space.

China’s construction pipeline falls slightly: With a total of 3,693 projects/701,974 rooms in Q2 2022, China’s construction pipeline is marginally less than the record high of 3,711 projects/704,101 rooms in Q1 2022 and is up 7% by projects year-over-year and 6% YOY by rooms, according to Lodging Econometrics. Projects currently under construction stand at 2,581 projects/470,021 rooms, each up 7% YOY, projects starting construction in the next 12 months are at 510 projects/97,607 rooms, and projects in the early planning stage are at 602 projects/134,346 rooms, up 21% and 13% YOY, respectively. New hotel openings in the first half of 2022 were 149 hotels/24,382 rooms.

Top 5 cities leading pipeline in China:

Chengdu – 141 projects/28,573 rooms

Shanghai – 128 projects/25,200 rooms

Guangzhou 0 115 projects/25,420 rooms

Hangzhou – 101 projects/21,175 rooms

Xi’an – 94 projects/17,169 rooms

Top 5 franchise companies leading China’s pipeline:

Hilton Worldwide – 685 projects/125,252 rooms

InterContinental Hotels Group – 443 projects/91,494 rooms

Marriott International – 385 projects/102,832 rooms

Accor – 203 projects/37,478 rooms

JinJiang Holdings – 190 projects/19,077 rooms

UK outbound travel recovery: U.K. outbound travel is set to be back in full swing with travel figures touching 86.9 million by 2024, surpassing the 84.7 million level registered in 2019 despite the economic slump in Europe, revealed GlobalData. Budget-friendly travel, especially in the country’s favorite holiday destination, Spain, is expected to be most popular. The recovery in outbound tourism flows a weak 2020 and 2021, where lower traveler confidence and stringent COVID measures saw the country’s outbound tourism getting reduced to a fraction of what it was in 2019. The pandemic resulted in a 78.2% YOY fall from 84.7 million in 2019 to 18.5 million in 2020, before a further decline in 2021 (-11.7% YOY) to only 16.3 million. Spain remains the topmost outbound destination for British travelers on account of its easy, direct travel routes between both countries. The U.K. was Spain’s biggest outbound tourist demographic before COVID-19 but the scale of inbound tourism fell drastically from 18 million British travelers in 2019 to 3.2 million in 2020 and 3.5 million in 2021.

Proper Hospitality adds Culver Hotel: Proper Hospitality, Santa Monica, California, has added the Culver Hotel in Culver City, California, to The Collective, a portfolio of independent, design-driven boutique hotels operated and managed by Proper Hospitality. The hotel is a landmarked flatiron-style building that initially opened in 1924 and was designed by architects Curlett & Beelman and Culver City founder Harry H. Culver. Hotelier Maya Mallick acquired and redesigned the property in 2007 and restored the 46-key boutique hotel. The hotel has added a new on-site bistro and garden and also features all-day dining outlets, an exercise room and more than 5,500 square feet of event space.

McKibbon Hospitality grows in Gainesville: McKibbon Hospitality, Tampa, Florida, has announced the addition of the 144-key AC Hotel Gainesville Downtown in Gainesville, Florida, to its management portfolio. The new addition grows McKibbon’s footprint in the Gainesville market, where the company already manages two more hotels — Hilton Garden Inn Gainesville & Homewood Suites Gainesville —  and adds to the company’s portfolio of managed AC Hotels. The hotel adds 144 new rooms to McKibbon’s portfolio, bringing the number of hotels managed across the U.S. to 97 with more than 11,000 guestrooms.

Sentiment survey on shortages: Companies across the world are more optimistic about supply chain and labor shortages in Q2 2022 than in the previous year, as per research by GlobalData. Sentiment around ‘shortages’ increased by over 7% in Q2 2022 from low) a sentiment score of 0.6) in Q2 2021 to a high (0.67) in Q2 2022. Among the most frequent were ‘labor’ shortages and ‘supply chain’ disruption, mostly the disruption caused by semiconductor shortages. However, despite continuing shortage concerns, companies have been adopting strategies to overcome the shortfalls. In terms of labor, companies were generally optimistic about managing their workforce, despite many discussions noting that the labor environment is tough. While there was much positivity in company filings, some were negative. Lamb Weston Holdings said it had incurred operational inefficiencies and higher costs due to labor and ingredient shortages. Analysis by sector showed that the technology, consumer and medical sectors saw the highest number of ‘shortages’ mentioned in their company filings.