Briefs: Major milestone for Marriott; Alma’s ambitious solar power project

Major milestone for Marriott: As Marriott International continues its 95th anniversary year, on Tuesday it celebrated the opening of its 8,000th property, the 245-room Marriott Bethesda Downtown at Marriott HQ, a 12-story hotel adjacent to Marriott International’s soon-to-open new global headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. The hotel is owned by The Bernstein Companies and managed by Marriott International. 

Rendering of Alma Resort’s solar power project

Alma Resort to install ambitious solar power project: Alma Resort in Vietnam’s Cam Ranh peninsula will install 5,634 solar panels, totaling 12,500 square meters, on the roofs of its 196 pavilions, two V-shaped towers housing 384 suites, lobby lounge, spa, gym and utility building. With a capacity of 2,480 kilowatts peak, the solar power system will fuel between a quarter to almost half of the resort’s energy requirements, depending on occupancy, and help save up to US$16 million in electricity bills over the next 25 years. It will also help the resort to reduce its CO2 emissions by up to 72,670 tonnes over 25 years. Instead of direct investment, the resort will pay for the system in savings made on electricity bills within the first 10 years of its operation. After the costs of the technology is taken out, the property is expected to save an additional US$1.96 million on electricity within tis 10-year period. The system is expected to generate 3.83 million kilowatt hours of energy during its first year of operation. The excess energy generated will be used by other facilities on the grid.

Peachtree acquires 3-hotel portfolio: Peachtree Hotel Group, Atlanta, Georgia, has acquired from Widewaters Hotels of Syracuse, New York, a three-property, 376-key hotel portfolio in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, as well as Pittsburgh submarkets. The sale was arranged by Atlanta-based Hodges Ward Elliott and includes the 137-key Aloft Hillsboro-Beaverton, the 120-key Home2Suites Eugene Downtown University Area and the 119-key Home2Suites Pittsburgh/McCandless. All the properties were developed, operated and owned by Widewaters Hotels.

Radisson to Papua New Guinea: Radisson Hotel Group has added the 156-key Grand Papua Hotel in Port Moresby to its portfolio, marking the company’s first property in Papua New Guinea. The existing independent hotel has been signed as a member of Radisson Individuals affiliation brand. The hotel, part of Coral Sea Hotels and owned by Steamships Ltd., will be integrated into Radisson’s global platform. Radisson Individuals currently has 48 hotels in operation and under development.

TPG to manage Kimpton airport hotel: TPG Hotels, Resorts & Marinas, Cranston, Rhode Island, has been selected to manage the Kimpton Overland Airport Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Developed by Porsche’s Atlanta corporate office and Driver Experience Center, the 214-key hotel features a rooftop bar overlooking the Porsche Driving Experience and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The hotel opened in 2017 and converted to a Kimpton in 2019 following a US$1.25 million renovation. TPG’s portfolio currently consists of 300 properties with more than 43,000 rooms across 37 states.

Dalata upbeat on results: Dublin, Ireland-based Dalata Hotel Group 2021 full year results demonstrate improved performance with revenue growth of 40% to €192 million. Following the reopening of hotels at the end of Q2 2021, ‘like for like’ group RevPAR increased from 19% of 2019 levels for the first six months of 2021 to 58% in July and 78% in November as events and domestic corporate business returned. Dalata’s pipeline of more than 2,000 rooms will see its UK footprint surpass Dublin by 2025. Regional UK and London remains the primary focus for growth, as well as large European cities.

PPHE recovery, pipeline update: PPHE Hotel Group, Amsterdam, reported annual results, which included total revenue increasing by 38.9% to £141.4 million/US$189.30 million (2020: £101.8 million/US$136.29 million), representing a recovery to 39.5% of 2019 levels. In Croatia, the third quarter revenue was approximately 93% of the revenue generated during the same period in 2019. PPHE recovered across all key operating metrics, with RevPAR up 22.1% year-on-year to £35.9/US$48.06 (2020: £29.4/US$39.36), average room rate up 11.4% to £117/US$156.64 (2020: £105.1/US$140.70) to represent 91.1% of 2019 levels. Occupancy improved to 30.7% (2020: 28%). PPGE reported continued progress against £200 million (US$267.76 million)-plus repositioning and development pipeline, including the construction of the art’otel London Hoxton, expected to complete by 2024; the two-year redevelopment of Grand Hotel Brioni in Pula, Croatia, in its final stages and expected to relaunch for the 2022 summer season; the conversion of a property in the center of Zagreb, its first in the capital city, to a luxury 115-room art’otel which is expected to open H1 2023; and art’otel London Battersea Power Station, which will be operated by the group under a management agreement and set to open in the second half of 2022. A long-term partnership with Clal was announced this year has unlocked £113.7 million (US$152.22 million) of equity to give the group further financial headroom to support recovery and capitalize on growth opportunities.

TiffinLabs to sponsor hotels introducing delivery-focused brands: TiffinLabs, the Singapore-based food technology company, has launched a US$2 million subsidy program, funded by the TiffinLabs Foundation, to underwrite local restaurant and hotel owners who plan on introducing innovative and profitable food delivery-focused virtual restaurant brands at their properties. The fund will finance all onboarding technology hardware and monthly fees for the first year of the operator’s partnership, including activation support fees by delivery platforms and virtual and on-site training as part of the set-up and start up. To function as a TiffinLabs site, a restaurant or hotel uses its physical kitchen along with existing staff and purchasing procedures and can launch up to four food concepts within 14 days which can deliver US$8,000 each per month of incremental revenue. Currently, brands like Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree, Hyatt Place, AC Hotels, Courtyard and Best Western use the TiffinLabs concept.

India market review: Driven by a sharp rise in leisure travel, occupancy in India improved to 43%, two-thirds of the way to recovery and RevPAR increased to Rs. 1,924 (US$25.48), revealed the India Hotel Market Review 2021 study jointly prepared by Horwath HTL and STR. RevPAR recovered of the slump that happened in March-December 2020 and is at a 52.5% level on the recovery road. Occupancy in 2021 recovered to roughly 19 points of the 40 points lost in the March-December 2020 period compared to 2019. The leisure sector performed well, with these destinations occupying the top five spots for ADR and newer destinations emerging. The demand for cottages, pool villas and bungalows shot up, with luxury-upper upscale ADR for destinations like Udaipur, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh rising to almost Rs. 17,000 (US$225.20). In contrast, the luxury upper-upscale ADR at most of the metro cities and emerging metros failed to go above Rs. 6,000 (US$79.48). Despite a quicker pace of recovery from the second wave of COVID than the first wave, the absence of MICE, closure of spas, staffing issues and frequent caps on the number of guests at weddings and other big events have impacted recovery.

Business travel set to recover: With waning concerns over the Omicron variant and easing of global travel restrictions, there is rising optimism about the revival of business travel with 78% of respondents feeling optimistic about the recovery of business travel, as compared to 54% in the January poll, revealed the February COVID-19 recovery poll conducted by the Global Business Travel Association. Around 73% (compared to 66% in January) felt non-essential domestic business travel is sometimes or usually allowed. Given the present situations, 82% said their employees were “willing” or “very willing” to travel for business, compared to 64% in January. On average, travel buyers said their company’s business travel bookings were at 33% of the pre-COVID level, while travel suppliers said business travel booking returned to 43% of the pre-COVID levels. About 50% said business travel will return slowly in the next three months, while 29% expect it to pick up quickly. With the increasing demand for bleisure travel, 82% of respondents said their employees were equally interested (53%) or “more/much more” interested (29%) in combining business travel with leisure. Most respondents (56%) expect their company to be mandating most employees to report to office.