Briefs: Hyatt all-inclusive to Bulgaria; NewcrestImage acquires 45 hotels

Hyatt’s all-inclusive brand debuts in Bulgaria: Hyatt Hotels Corp. has announced plans to grow the Inclusive Collection, a new global portfolio of luxury all-inclusive resort brands, with five all-inclusive resorts in Bulgaria. Slated to open in 2023 and 2024, the resorts will be managed by Terra Tour Service EOOD and will be rebranded to Secrets Resorts & Spas, Dreams Resorts & Spas, Breathless Resorts & Spas and Alua Hotels & Resorts brands following renovations. Located in Sunny Beach and Obzor, the resorts will add around 2,000 keys to Hyatt’s Inclusive Collection portfolio. The addition of the five beachfront resorts is Hyatt’s latest milestone in intentional global brand expansion and will mark the Inclusive Collection’s entry into a third European country, after Spain and Greece.

Courtyard by Marriott, The Woodlands, Texas, is part of NewcrestImage’s new acquisition

NewcrestImage acquires 45 hotels:  NewcrestImage, Grapevine, Texas, has reached a definitive agreement to acquire 45 hotels from an unnamed private investment firm for an undisclosed price. The portfolio includes approximately 3,300 rooms with 35 Marriott-branded hotels, seven Hilton-branded, two Choice-branded, and one Radisson-branded property, which are in 11 states.  NewcrestImage began this year in January by selling 27 hotels (3,533 rooms) to Summit Hotel Properties and Singapore’s GIC fund for US$822 million. Since then, it acquired 15 hotels and now it is adding 45 properties to its portfolio. The new hotels will be managed by Aimbridge Hospitality.

ITC to spin-off hotels?: Reports out of India suggest ITC is exploring a spin-off of its hotel business and could soon separately list the business unit. ITC would pursue an “asset-right” strategy for its hotels to ensure that the diversified conglomerate remains competitive and contemporary, according to its Chairman Sanjiv Puri. ITC currently has 113 hotels and over 10,700 rooms under four distinct brands.

US performance dips: Hotel performance in the U.S. slipped from the previous week but continued to improve when compared to 2019, revealed STR’s latest data.

  • Occupancy: 62.8% (+3.1%)
  • ADR: US$147.14 (+20.9%)
  • RevPAR: US$92.45 (+24.6%)

Among the top 25 markets, Miami saw the largest increase in occupancy (+30.1% to 62.2%) and RevPAR (+86.5% to US$112.37). San Diego posted the largest ADR gain (+50.1% to US$222.47). San Francisco was the only market to see RevPAR declining (-16.2% to US$151.62).

European markets’ profitability update: Led by Berlin, most of Europe’s biggest hotel markets have exceeded their pre-pandemic figures in GOPPAR, as per STR’s July P&L data. Berlin’s July GOPPAR reached US$34.32, which was 183% of the pre-pandemic comparable. The market reported GOPPAR at US$98.21 in June, which was 132% of 2019 comparable. Paris also reported significant month-over-month improvement in Europe, with a July GOPPAR of US$312.64. This level was the market’s second highest this year behind June (US$347.08). London and Amsterdam reported GOPPAR which was 105% of 2019 comparable, at US$172.11 and US$97.65, respectively. Europe’s occupancy stands at just 10% shy of the pre-pandemic figures. In July, Paris and London posted occupancy at 85%, which was almost double of what it was in the previous year. Europe’s July room rates were 27% higher than 2019 levels, with Athens, Edinburgh and Rome recording a significant performance.

International arrivals to Europe recover: Air travel to southeast Europe significantly exceeded pre-COVID levels in the peak summer months of July and August, with Turkey and Greece both surpassing pre-pandemic volumes of international visitor arrivals by 9% and 2% respectively, according to a latest report by ForwardKeys. Air travel to Albania also increased 28%. Although no other major destinations recovered to the 2019 levels; Slovenia, Iceland and Portugal (7% down, 8% down and 10% down respectively) came close. Istanbul led the best performing cities with a 2% rise in flight arrivals, followed by Athens (7% down), Reykjavik and Porto (both 8% down) and Malaga (13% down). Greece has been the most resilient, with departures for European destinations in July and August matching 2019 figures, followed by Poland, 9% down, Spain, 12% down, the UK, 13% down, Denmark, 14% down and Portugal 15% down. Overall, intra-European departures were 22% down. Among the extra-European market, the U.S. was the strongest, just 5% down from 2019. The U.K. led as the strongest origin market, where outbound flight demand for the next three months was just 2% down compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Lemon Tree adds in India: Lemon Tree Hotels, New Delhi, India, has signed a new hotel — Lemon Tree Hotel, Erode — in Tamil Nadu, India. The hotel, which is expected to open by December 2023, will be managed by Carnation Hotels Pvt. Ltd., a wholly owned unit and management arm of Lemon Tree Hotels Ltd. The property will offer 64 rooms, a restaurant, bar and meeting room. The hotel marks Lemon Tree’s sixth one in Tamil Nadu. The company currently operates around 8,300 rooms in 85 hotels across 52 destinations. Once its current pipeline becomes operational, Lemon Tree will have nearly 10,900 rooms across 69 destinations both in India and abroad.

US lodging industry overview: The use of hotel rooms has seen a dramatic shift since the onset of the pandemic, with the continuing evolution of trends, revealed the latest report on the hospitality and lodging industry by Cushman & Wakefield. The first six months of the year showed resilience of the U.S. hotel market but there was a nuanced performance on the local and regional levels. Compared to H1 2021, U.S. demand increased more than 18%, accounting for around 100 million more occupied rooms, while the average room rate improved by 14.8%. Because of the higher room rates, even with a lower volume of occupied rooms compared to pre-pandemic levels, national RevPAR was at a record high, surpassing the figures seen in mid-2019. The hotel sector remains adaptive. However, changes in personal and business behavior have directly affected the performance of hotels. With higher interest rates and construction costs this year, many projects in urban and suburban markets were either canceled or postponed. Leisure-driven markets sustained interest, where new projects continued. Overall, supply growth is estimated to continue to subside. Nationally, the lodging market is showing an upward trend, while varying at a local level. On a national level, the U.S. lodging market recovery was well into the upside of the cycle but performance of individual markets was quite diverse, depending on the source of hotel demand. Potential external risks and inflationary trends continued to challenge the performance gains of 2021 and early 2022. However, with stronger performance from the second quarter, industry participants were optimistic about the long-term trajectory.

International visitor spending jumps 100%: International visitors spent US$13.9 billion in July on travel to- and tourism-related activities in the U.S., an increase of over 101% compared to July 2021, according to data recently released by the National Travel and Tourism Office. Americans spent US$13.1 billion traveling abroad, yielding a balance of trade surplus of US$775 million for the month, reversing two consecutive months of balance of trade deficits for U.S. travel and tourism. Between January and July, international visitors spent almost US$83.4 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services (up almost 106% compared to the same period last year), adding over US$395 million per day to the U.S. economy. Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors traveling in the country stood at US$7.4 billion in July, soaring by 217% compared to the previous year. U.S. carriers received US$2.3 billion in fares from international visitors (compared to $1.1 billion in July 2021), an increase of 118% from last year. Expenditures for educational and health-related tourism, along with all expenditures by border, seasonal, and other short-term workers came to US$4.2 billion (compared to $3.5 billion in July 2021), an increase of 19% from last year.

US$5B moon in Dubai: Dubai is soon set to add a US$5 billion moon-shaped destination resort designed by Canadian company Moon World Resorts Inc. Proposed and co-founded by Sandra Matthews and Michael Henderson of Moon World Resorts (MWR), the 735-foot high building will be built in 48 months and is estimated to pull in 2.5 million guests annually by including a wellness center, nightclub, space tourism, technology and hospitality, while being surrounded by a “lunar surface.” The surface will spread across 10 acres and will include a “lunar colony” targeting those looking for affordable access to explore space tourism. The building will also feature 300 boutique ‘Sky Villas’ — private residential units available for purchase. The luxury units will be situated internally within the main structure disc buildings. Owners will get access to an exclusive private club at the resort. The building is also expected to be a hub for space agencies and their astronauts. MWR is planning a 2023 global roadshow series showcasing the potential of Moon to prospective regional licensees and is expected to license four Moon destinations globally, one each in North America, Europe, Middle East and North Africa and Asia.