Briefs: HIP, AMR grow in Greece; Aman to Beverly Hills

HIP, AMR announce resort in Greece: Hotel Investment Partners, owned by funds managed by Blackstone, and Hyatt Hotels Corp.’s Apple Leisure Group will open the 161-room AluaSoul Zakynthos, earlier known as Plagos Beach hotel in Zante, Greece, following extensive renovations. HIP and Blackstone have invested around €5.4 million (US$5.78 million) to transform and upgrade the property, which is managed by a brand under Alua Hotels & Resorts. Renovations include enhancements of public areas and guest rooms. The 4-star, beachfront hotel is an all-inclusive, adults-only resort and 48 rooms are reserved for ‘My Favorite Club’ guests. The property also includes three restaurants and an exclusive pool area. The hotel’s refurbishment plan was supported by Alpha Bank which provided the financing for the execution of the capital expenditure.

Rendering of Aman Beverly Hills

Aman to Beverly Hills: Aman has partnered with Cain International, London, and Alagem Capital, Beverly Hills, California, to develop the Aman Beverly Hills. The property will feature an Aman hotel, a collection of Aman branded residences and an Aman Club within eight acres of botanical gardens. The project marks Aman’s first property in California and fifth in the U.S. Aman Beverly Hills is slated to open in 2026 and will become a part of the 17.5-acre mixed-use urban resort  complex called One Beverly Hills, situated on the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. An area of land will be redeveloped to create One Beverly Hills, with Aman Beverly Hills being the centerpiece of the urban green space. Construction of One Beverly Hills is slated to begin in 2023 and completed in 2026. The complex includes the Beverly Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, both owned by Alagem Capital. As part of the project, the Beverly Hilton will see extensive upgrades to bring the green of the gardens into the hotel experience.

US performance slips: Hotel performance in the U.S. slipped from the previous week, reflecting an anticipated post-Memorial Day holiday slowdown, showed STR’s data through June 4.

  • Occupancy: 63.2% (-12.1%)
  • ADR: US$147.35 (+11.3%)
  • RevPAR: US$93.16 (-2.2%)

Although none of the top 25 markets registered an occupancy increase over 2019, Orlando came closest to its pre-pandemic comparable (-2.5% to 68.9%). San Francisco (-25.5% to 63.3%) and Minneapolis (-25.5% to 55.7%) matched for the largest occupancy decrease from 2019. The markets also recorded the steepest RevPAR declines, -42.6% and -29.7%, respectively. Miami saw the largest ADR gain over 2019 (+37.8% to US$209.55).

Scandic expects strong earnings development: Scandic Hotels expects strong earnings development in the second quarter of the year, boosted by an improved hotel market, high efficiency, cost control and other non-recurring items. The company expects net sales for the second quarter of the year to be around 5,200-5,400 Swedish Krona (US$530.14-550.53). Adjusted EBITDA is likely to be 1,000-1,100 Swedish Krona (US$101.95-112.14), which is higher than earlier forecasts. With the hotel market staying strong in the first two months of the quarter, Scandic expects similar market development in June, In April and May, Scandic’s RevPAR was in line with the corresponding months in 2019, which was a record year for the company. The company’s occupancy rate in April and May was 55 and 65% respectively. Average room rates continued to improve during the first two months and were higher than during the 2019 comparable. Scandic’s results for the second quarter are likely to be impacted positively by state aid of around 60 Swedish Krona (US$6.11), which is primarily attributable to Denmark and Germany. Additionally, results are likely to be impacted positively by at least 100 Swedish Krona (US$10.19) related to an agreement with the Norwegian state for preparedness for housing for refugees from Ukraine.

Australia market outlook: Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, hotel markets in Australia saw the strongest performance in the first quarter of 2022. While RevPAR in Sydney and Melbourne was 50% below the pre-pandemic comparables during the quarter, the other markets recorded RevPAR between 83% to 139% compared to the March 2019 quarter, showed the latest report by Horwath HTL Australia. The data is based on the economics forecast by Deloitte Access Economics in March 2022, the tourism prediction by Tourism Research Australia in December 2021 and the historical hotel performance from STR in March 2022. The report revealed that market performance continued to be driven by rates as a result of a shift in demand segments and the concentration demand during the peak leisure periods. The general market expectation is that June 2022 will be the first quarter to record a significant return in corporate-related and MICE demand, although focus on domestic is likely to continue. While the international border is expected to be an important turning point for the tourism segment, more recent data suggests a slower short-term recovery is likely. Return of international tourist arrivals to the pre-pandemic levels is expected around 2025.

Saudi Arabia’s training program: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism has invested US$100 million to launch Tourism Trailblazers, a program to equip 100,000 young Saudis with hospitality skills required to pursue careers in the country’s tourism industry and will provide detailed global experience to the industry’s future leaders. The program’s three main goals aim to nurture, develop and support talent in the industry and seeks to spread a culture of professionalism, help nascent professionals gain knowledge and qualifications required to launch into the industry and support their success through refinement of their skills. Trainees will secure jobs within the industry, including seasonal, part-time or full-time opportunities in the country. The program’s participants will benefit from training scholarships at global institutions in France, the U.K., Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Australia.

PMZ secures financing for Beachview Club Hotel: PMZ Realty Capital LLC, New York, has secured a US$300 million in debt and equity for the 42-key Beachview Club Hotel, a Tapestry Collection by Hilton property in Jekyll Island, Georgia. The proceeds will be utilized to recapitalize and grow the existing footprint. The hotel was initially purchased by the sponsor in 2017, when it was refurbished into an upscale independent boutique property. The Jekyll Island Authority has approved of plans and permits to construct 42 more rooms in the hotel. The hotel includes an outdoor swimming pool, a shared lounge and garden and a sun terrace.

Sustainability accountability report: Travel and transportation companies often lack the ability to provide consistent, validated and reliable corresponding information, found the report, ‘Driving Accountable Sustainability in the Consumer Industry,’ by Deloitte. Only 3 of 10 consumer companies have said they produce sustainability data which is accurate and verifiable as their financial data and 1 in 3 companies said an error can easily go undetected in their sustainability data. This, despite the fact that 7 in 10 agree that sustainability needs the same rigor as financial reporting. Around 4 in 10 executives said their companies were making significant or very significant investments in infrastructure to boost sustainability practices – with the largest share of those investments going toward technology (39%), process (38%) and people (22%). However, more say they need significant changes to their companies’ culture to make progress on becoming more accountable for sustainability. Many respondents felt the consumer industry will be uniquely challenged in meeting its sustainability goals. Executives said complex, global supply chains (40%), unpredictability of end-consumer behavior (37%) and lack of access to suitable alternative inputs (35%) as major obstacles. Around 93 companies said they would achieve sustainability data parity in the next 18 months, earning the title of “Vanguards.” While the biggest benefit among executives was their company’s ability to innovate in general, for the travel sector, building consumer and brand loyalty (76%) and the ability to evaluate acquisition targets based on sustainability (76%) also top the list.

Metaverse Hospitality to launch NFTs: Metaverse Hospitality, the Tampa, Florida-based builder of the first hotels in the Metaverse, will release their bespoke NFTs on June 28. These NFTs will act as a valued asset in the Metaverse and provide utility, tangible awards and perks in the real world. The tiered release of the proprietary NFTs will correspond to each hotel and its amenities. Each hotel will have two levels of NFTs, resident and guest. NFTs will offer enhanced benefits like a dedicated room at the hotel, an exclusive Director of Residences to act as a virtual concierge, complimentary event and conference hosting, along with real-world utility such as paid gym memberships and spa day giveaways. Of the total 7,878 NFTs released across the three hotels, only 78 are Resident Tier. Guest NFTs will offer several perks, including giveaways for real-world hotel stays, flights, personal and household subscriptions. The longer Guests hold or ‘stake’ their NFTs, the higher they move within the loyalty program which will deliver more elevated benefits.