Briefs: Hyatt’s The Unbound Collection to Japan; Angama adds in Kenya

Unbound Collection debuts in Japan: Hyatt Hotels Corp. has opened Fuji Speedway Hotel in Shizuoka, Japan, marking the first hotel within The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in the country. Set against the backdrop of Mount Fuji, the 120-key luxury hotel is located adjacent to the Fuji Speedway motor circuit and is one of the components of the new Fuji Motorsports Forest project, which is developed by the Toyota Group. The property features the Fuji Motor Sports Museum. The hotel offers 21 suites and five dog-friendly villas with individual private garages. The property also includes two restaurants, a bar and an all-day dining lounge, a spa, pool, outdoor hot spring onsens and a fitness center, along with two pillar-less meeting spaces.

Rendering of Angama Amboseli in Kenya’s Kimana Sanctuary

Angama adds in Kenya: Angama, the Kenya-based hospitality company, will open in November 2023 Angama Amboseli, a 10-suite lodge located in Kenya’s private 5,700-acre Kimana Sanctuary against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro. Designed by architect Jan Allan and interior designers Annemarie Meintjes and Alison Mitchell (the same team behind the Angama Safari Camp in Maasai Mara), each of the tented suites, including the two sets of connecting family suites, features a super king bed, customized drinks armoire and a dressing area connecting to a bathroom with double vanity and double shower. To maximize views of Kilimanjaro, all suites will have floor-to-ceiling screened doors leading to a private deck with a lounge area, outdoor shower and rocking chairs. The guest area will include indoor/outdoor dining, a sundowner fire pit and an infinity pool with a drinking trough for elephants. The property offers a density of wildlife that can be viewed on a “pajama safari.”

International visitor spending in US rises: International visitor spending in the U.S. on travel to and tourism-related activities increased by nearly 103% to US$13.7 billion in August 2022 compared to August 2021, as per the latest data released by the National Travel and Tourism Office. Americans spent US$13.4 billion traveling abroad, yielding a balance of trade surplus of US$360 million, the second consecutive monthly balance of trade surplus for U.S. travel and tourism. From January to August 2022, international visitors spend over US$97.2 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related goods and services (up over 105% compared to August 2021), infusing more than US$400 million per day into the country’s economy. Purchases of travel and tourism-related goods and services by international visitors in the U.S. soared 253% to US$7.2 billion (as compared to US$2 billion in the same period last year). Fares received by U.S. carriers from international visitors rose by 110% to US$2.3 billion. Expenditures for educational and health-related tourism and all expenditures by border, seasonal and short-term workers in the U.S. jumped 17% to US$4.2 billion.

Somera Capital Management acquires Quorum Hotels: California and Washington. D.C.-based Somera Capital Management has acquired Dallas, Texas-based Quorum Hotels & Resorts. With over two decades of relationship between Somera and Quorum principals as the foundation, the acquisition will provide a management solution for Somera’s present hotel portfolio and position the company for growth, as it plans to capitalize on market conditions for its partners and investors. The new ownership group will be led by President Todd Moreau. Earlier, Moreau led a California-based hotel management company as its COO. Quorum will maintain its corporate headquarters in Dallas and Newport Beach, California.

Hotel group strategy for mental well-being: The U.K.-based Eden Hotel Collection will launch a well-being strategy — The Eden Hotel Collection Employee Wellbeing Strategy — on October 10, coinciding with World Mental Health Day. The strategy, which was shaped by a staff survey by the company, was also driven by the increasing cost of living and concerns over the financial and mental impact on employees. As per the survey, 81% of respondents are negatively affected by the present economic situation, 62% reported suffering from stress and anxiety and 59% feared they would not be able to meet monthly expenses amid soaring energy prices. The initiative calls for new Wellbeing Champions at each hotel, altering the distribution of gratuities to monthly to offer a more regular cash boost and launching a new benefits portal and financial wellbeing portal to give staff instant access to manage and track their earnings. Other measures include new health plans for employees, free flu vaccinations and discounted gym memberships, training employees as mental health first aiders, launching support around menopause, domestic violence and promoting men’s health, adopting family-friendly policies and improving staff meals.

Leisure, hospitality sectors lead US employment gains: September saw a larger growth in jobs and wage than expected, according to a recently released jobs report, with the leisure and hospitality sector leading the upside in employment. In September, nonfarm payrolls rose 263,000 compared to the expected 250,000, bringing the rate of unemployment down to 3.5% against the expected 3.7%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that “notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality and in health care” for the month. The leisure and hospitality sector added 83,000 jobs in September, continuing the trend of gains for the industry over the first eight months of the year. Adding 60,000 jobs, employment in the food services and drinking places led the uptick. Total employment in the industry is only 6.7% below the pre-pandemic figures.