Wyndham sells one of its few remaining owned assets: New York-based real estate giant Tishman reportedly has acquired the 400-room Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek from Wyndham Hotels & Resorts for US$120.5 million (US$301,250 per key). Wyndham will enter a long-term franchise agreement for this brand flagship. The only remaining owned hotel in the Wyndham portfolio is the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar in Puerto Rico, which is reportedly for sale, as well.
Expense costs threaten recovery: February was a stronger month overall for the global hotel industry, but rising line item costs could derail an already fragile profit rebound, revealed the monthly HotStats trend report. GOPPAR in the U.S. touched US$65.98 in February, the highest it has been since October 2021 and US$40 more than in January. It is still, however, below the pre-pandemic level of US$90 in February 2019. Payroll was up to US$66.60 per available room in the U.S. in February, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. In Europe, energy prices have been a cause for concern, with overall utility prices skyrocketing. The simultaneous rise in payroll expense has made it difficult for recovery in Europe. GOPPAR recovered slightly in February to €11.19 (US$12.27), which was three times less than its 2019 comparable. In the Middle East, GOPPAR was recorded at US$73.59 in February, US$2 higher than its February 2019 comparable. Frequent lockdowns in China impacted recovery, with GOPPAR falling to US$9.73, more than two times less than February 2019. Shanghai saw the highest profit output since the pandemic in May 2021 (US$60.46), but it slipped to US$12.73 in February.
War’s impact on Europe occupancy: Hotel performance in most of Europe has remained stable as the war continues in Ukraine and its neighboring countries continue to see a refugee-driven boost in occupancy, an STR report stated. Barring temporary closures during the pandemic, Europe’s hotel occupancy hasn’t gone below 53% on a running seven-day basis since February-end. As per latest data for March 20, occupancy crossed 58%. Compared to 2019, levels over the past few weeks have not dipped below 77% of the pre-COVID comparables and came in over 80% on March 20. Northern Europe has been the furthest ahead in terms of absolute occupancy and indexed levels to 2019. At a country level, barring Ukraine and Russia where occupancy has dipped, Poland went from sub-50% occupancy at February-end to peaking at 72% on March 12. The latest data till March 20 shows Poland running at 68% on a running seven-day average. Romania has stayed consistently over 60% occupancy, after being well below the level before the war. Countries in Western and Southern Europe has shown steady improvement through the past month, with Ireland and the U.K. reporting highest occupancy levels. Occupancy patterns on the books is likely to remain consistent in Western and Southern Europe. Ireland has registered the highest booking levels, with weekend spikes over 70% for April.
Americans eager to travel: Travel sentiment among U.S. travelers is growing, with 73% of Americans intending to go on a vacation in the next six months, rising from 62% from last year, according to the latest study by MMGY Travel Intelligence. It found that COVID-19 was no longer a hindrance to travel as the number of vaccinated travelers rises significantly. Around 69% of active leisure travelers said they have been vaccinated, up 4 percentage points since the last survey in October 2021. At 16%, travelers indicating that they will not take the vaccine stayed constant. Younger generations plan to go on vacations the most in the next 12 months, with Gen Zs and millennials leading with an average of 5 and 4.1 trips planned, respectively. One out of four Americans plan to go on a solo trip in the next six months. Hotel cleanliness standards have become just as important as room rates and free breakfast, while sustainability also emerged as a priority for travelers with six in 10 travelers willing to pay more for travel providers who demonstrate a commitment to environmental responsibility. Around 81% of active leisure travelers were willing to change their travel behavior to lessen the overall impact on the environment.
Radisson grows in Scotland: Radisson Hotel Group has signed the 75-room Radisson Blu Hotel, Perth, in Scotland, a landmark property that first opened in 1890 as one of the original British railway hotels. The property is set to open in Q2 2022 following an extensive renovation of all guest rooms and public spaces. The hotel is also home to two ballrooms – the largest outside Edinburgh – and five large meeting and conference rooms. Radisson Hotel Group will open another of the original British Transport Hotels later this year, the Radisson Red Liverpool, originally the North Western Hotel adjacent to Lime Street railway station.
Summit closes Hilton New Orleans acquisition: Summit Hotel Properties, Austin, Texas, has completed the acquisition of the 176-key Canopy by Hilton New Orleans Downtown for US$56 million through its joint venture with GIC. The closing of the deal completes the US$822 million portfolio acquisition from NewcrestImage, which comprised 27 hotels totaling to 3,709 rooms, two parking structures and several financial incentives. Summit also has US$425 million of liquidity after the completion of the deal. The company’s portfolio currently consists of 101 hotels, of which 61 are wholly owned, with a total of 15,227 rooms across 24 states.
TUI sets new goal for Blue brand: TUI Group, Hanover, Germany, is working to expand its TUI Blue brand, stating it aims to grow to 300-plus hotels with a focus on management contracts and franchises in Southeast Asia, China, Africa and the Middle East. It has opened new development offices in Dubai and Hong Kong and a TUI spokesperson told HOTELS it has signed two management contracts for the first TUI Blue hotels in China. Additionally, they said there are further deals in the pipeline for Africa.
Lemon Tree signs new hotel in India: Lemon Tree Hotels, New Delhi, India, has signed a new Aurika Hotels & Resorts — Luxury by Lemon Tree Hotels-branded property in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, in Northern India. The 132-key property is owned by M/s Kedar Ganga Hotels and Resorts Pvt. Ltd. and will be operated by Lemon Tree’s subsidiary and management arm, Carnation Hotels Pvt. Ltd. It is expected to open in March 2025. Currently, Lemon Tree operates around 8,500 rooms in 87 hotels across 54 destinations in India and other countries. Once the company’s pipeline becomes operational, it will have around 10,700 rooms in 109 hotels across 65 locations in India and abroad.
Spanish travelers keen on wellness trips: The pandemic’s impact on mental health has resulted in greater demand for health and wellness holidays among travelers in Spain, revealed GlobalData. Focusing on spas and relaxation these vacations focus on meditation, diet and yoga. The demand for health and wellness vacations among Spanish travelers rose 5% in Q3 2021 (compared to Q3 2019), with 13% of respondents stating that they typically go on such types of vacations. In GlobalData’s Q2 2021 research, 29% of the respondents said they were ‘extremely concerned’ about their mental health because of COVID-19, while an additional 30% said they were ‘quite concerned.’
Military personnel at Cancun: Authorities in Cancun, Mexico, deployed additional security at the Cancun Hotel Zone, an area which has a high concentration of clubs and shopping outlets. Groups of military personnel and municipal police patrolled the packed streets of Spring Break travelers. No criminal incidences were reported during the patrols over the Spring Break party weekend.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations acquires land in South Carolina: Holiday Inn Club Vacations has acquired 16 acres of undeveloped property in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, from Myrtle Beach Farms Co. The deal for the land was finalized earlier this year. In March, Holiday Inn Club Vacations finalized a subsequent conveyance of an 11-acre beachfront part of the land to Myrtle Holiday 1, LLC, who will develop the land into a new oceanfront resort for Holiday Inn Club Vacations. The resort is slated to open in 2024. The property is located across the street from Holiday Inn Club Vacations South Beach Resort. Once development is completed on the first phase, the resort will include 152 one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom villas with patios and ocean views. A portion of the villas will be designated for Signature Collection, the company’s luxury brand. The resort will also feature a beachside activity lawn, multi-level pool, outdoor fire pit, poolside hot tubs, private cabanas, fitness center and an exclusive Signature Collection lounge.