IHG adds Crowne Plaza in India: IHG Hotels & Resorts has signed a management agreement with SRDF Ventures Private Ltd. to develop a new Crowne Plaza Resort at Pushkar in Rajasthan, India. The 125-key property is scheduled to open by early 2026. With two operating hotels and two under development, this will be the fifth IHG hotel to open in Rajasthan as the group aims to strengthen its premium brand offering across the state. Currently, IHG has 44 hotels across five brands in South West Asia and a pipeline of 37 hotels expected to open in the next two to three years.
High Street Holdings grows Australian portfolio: High Street Holdings, Singapore, has acquired Pepper Kings Square in Perth, Australia, for AU$26 million (US$18.03 million) in an off-market deal. Opened in 2016, the 18-story, 120-key hotel was earlier managed by Mantra Group and will now be rebranded as Rydges Kings Square. CBRE Hotels negotiated the deal. This is High Street Holding’s third Australian addition to its portfolio, after the purchase of Rydges North Sydney for AU$75 million (US$52.02 million) this June and the Kennigo Hotel Brisbane in June 2021.
AutoCamp to double portfolio: AutoCamp, San Francisco, California, has announced its expansion to three more locations — Asheville, North Carolina; Hill Country, Texas; and Sequoia, California — along with the estimated opening of AutoCamp Zion outside of Zion National Park, Utah, in early spring 2023. These four new locations will help double AutoCamp’s portfolio by 2023. AutoCamp Zion will consist of 81 accommodations, including 72 Airstreams, 10 BaseCamps, 9 X Suites spread across 16 acres of land along the Virgin River. The location will offer locally inspired, curated F&B offerings, a general store, two outdoor event spaces, an all-season pool, communal fire pit and riverfront beach access. AutoCamp Asheville will open in mid 2023, while both AutoCamp Hill Country and AutoCamp Sequoia will open in late 2023.
Organizations form women’s alliance: A total of 18 organizations committed to uplift women in the hospitality industry have partnered to form the Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance, which will amplify all their programs, messaging and initiatives to advance women in leadership. The alliance will be led by industry veteran Rachel Humphrey. The Alliance began conversations in November 2021, met in person at ALIS in January 2022, and has connected regularly since then. The organizations share their goals, upcoming efforts, educational resources, event information, and one another’s messaging to amplify the overall and collective mission of advancing women in hospitality.
Accor, utu launch tax-free shopping rewards: utu, the Singapore-based travel-tech company, has partnered with Accor to launch a tax-free shopping rewards program. The partnership fully integrates the utu platform with ALL-Accor Live Limitless, allowing customers to convert every US$100 worth of VAT refund into 5,000 ALL points. ALL points can then be redeemed for hotel stays or dining at Accor F&B outlets or any of the partner benefits offered by ALL. Guests using utu and ALL can enjoy higher tax refunds by downloading the utu Tax Free mobile app. Travelers can enjoy overseas shopping by providing their utu Tax Free Card Number when selecting where to send the refund. The partnership extends utu’s reach to ALL members globally, with ALL members initially being able to enjoy the tax refund service in any of the 50 countries where GST or VAT refunds are offered including Singapore, Italy, France, Germany, the U.K., Thailand and South Korea.
WTTC analysis on talent crunch: A total of 412,000 travel and tourism jobs in the U.S. will remain unfulfilled this year, revealed a new analysis by the World Travel & Tourism Council. According to the report, one in 18 jobs stayed vacant in the first half of the year, indicating a talent crunch that has been affecting the sector since early 2021. A total of 321,000 jobs remained unfulfilled during January to June (a 5.4% shortage), with worker shortages likely to persist in Q3 peaking at 412,000 vacancies (a 7% shortfall). After employment in the sector dropped to its lowest at 35.9% in 2020, there was a 12.4% increase in the number of jobs directly supported by the sector in 2021, adding 480,000 jobs back into the market. Despite the growth, accommodation, sightseeing transportation and recreation have witnessed the most severe labor crunch this year, with employers in the accommodation industry struggling to find suitable candidates for roughly one in seven hotel job postings. The outlook could become more positive later this year and into 2023 if the government and public sector worked together to increase availability of eligible workers, while adapting sector career opportunities to appeal to top talent.
Champneys secures £108M loan from Cheyne Capital: Cheyne Capital, London, has provided a £108 million (US$129.87 million) senior loan to Champneys Health Resorts, the owner and operator of health and wellbeing hotels in the U.K. The loan will be utilized to refinance and consolidate the group’s existing loan facilities and support the company’s five-year business plan, including extensive renovations of the Springs property in Leicestershire and Mottram Hall in Cheshire to transform them in spa facilities. Currently, Champneys has six properties across the U.K. with 538 beds and 249 treatment rooms. Duxhill Associates arranged the transaction.
JP Hospitality acquires in Italy: JP Hospitality Investors Club, Richmond, Virginia, has acquired aparthotel Residence del Mare (Casa Minelli) in Trieste, Italy. Built in 1830, the 2,000-square-meter-property features 40 apartments each with a kitchen-living room. The new owners plan to renovate the hotel, focusing on lifestyle refurbishment. PKF hospitality group served as exclusive advisor to JP Hospitality Investors Club.
Island Hospitality adds 3 WaterWalks: Island Hospitality Management, West Palm Beach, Florida, has added three WaterWalk properties from two separate ownership groups to its management portfolio. The properties are located in San Antonio and Richardson, Texas, and Centennial, Colorado. With the addition of the three properties, Island Hospitality now operates the entire U.S. portfolio of WaterWalk properties. The company currently operates over 80 hotels under 15 brands across the U.S. WaterWalk properties offer fully-furnished corporate apartments with upscale amenities for a few nights or several months along with unfurnished apartments with flexible lease terms.
Mountain Modern announces expansion plans: Mountain Modern, Jackson, Wyoming, will undergo renovations and expansion following the acquisition of Jackson Hole Lodge, doubling its presence to cover an entire city block. The expansion is expected to be completed by fall and will see the addition of 59 rooms, an outdoor pool and jacuzzi, a new culinary concept, a contemporary social hub which includes a community space, lounge, firepits and 190,000 square feet of additional outdoor spaces. The new rooms will take the total number of rooms to 194.
USTA launches sustainable travel coalition: The U.S Travel Association has launched its new Sustainable Travel Coalition, which aligns the travel, technology and transportation industries to develop and advance strategies to enable a more sustainable future for the country’s travel industry. With almost 60 member organizations, the coalition will serve as an advisory body to inform U.S. Travel on sustainability concerns, opportunities and issues within member organizations and destinations. A dedicated policy committee will drive the coalition’s efforts to enable regular collaboration and progress.