Briefs: Oaktree helps Arsenale grow in Italy; Wyndham grows in EMEA

Oaktree helps Arsenale grow in Italy: Arsenale Spa, Rome, has secured up to €300 million (US$340 million) of equity and financing from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, Los Angeles, to help complete its fleet of six Orient Express “La Dolce Vita” trains in collaboration with Accor, Trenitalia-Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato and Fondazione FS, as well as further expand in the Italian lifestyle luxury hospitality space. Arsenale is expected to create new destinations across Italy synergistically with its luxury train routes set to begin operation in 2023. Oaktree’s investment will also support Arsenale’s development of the future Orient-Express Hotel de La Minerve in Rome and Palazzo Donà-Giovannelli in Venice. The company was created as a partnership between the Barletta Group and Annabel Holding who remain the controlling shareholders, while Oaktree is reportedly taking less than a 20% stake in the venture. Rothschild & Co. acted as financial advisor for Arsenale and MedioBanca for Oaktree.

Ramada by Wyndham Varanasi Katesar, India

Wyndham grows in EMEA: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts continues to grow in Europe, Middle East, Eurasia and Africa with a lineup of openings scheduled for 2022. Some of the upcoming openings include the company’s first hotel in Poland, the 205-key Wyndham Wroclaw Old Town; the 267-room Wyndham Garden Munich Messe in Germany; a Super 8-branded hotel in Koblenz, Germany, in collaboration with GS Star; and the first Tryp-branded hotel in Greece. In Turkey, Wyndham will open the Ramada Encore and Days Inn by Wyndham, with more properties in Istanbul, Rize and Elbistan. Other openings include the debut of Wyndham’s namesake brand in Cyprus — Wyndham Nicosia; expansion in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia; the 278-key Wyndham Grand Doha West Bay Beach in Qatar; and two more openings in Saudi Arabia. In India, Wyndham has a development pipeline of 30 hotels, with eight slated to open this year. The company will also open a Ramada by Wyndham Gangtok Hotel & Golden Casino in Gangtok City and the 300-key Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Mumbai Sahar. 

Kimpton provides free therapy for guests, staff: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has partnered with Talkspace, the online behavioral health company, to offer mental health services to its guests and over 4,000 employees across the U.S. The KimptonxTalkspace partnership will provide mental health support to hospitality employees who have served as front line workers during the pandemic. Up to 1,000 complimentary video therapy sessions with counselors will be provided to guests over the age of 18 years at Kimpton properties. Kimpton will also provide a US$100 promotional code to be applied to a Talkspace plan for guests till December. Employees will be provided with a year-long complimentary Talkspace subscription.

Pebblebrook guidance encouraging: Pebblebrook Hotel Trust’s 4Q21 earnings were relatively in line with The Street’s expectations with same-property revenues -28.9% versus 2019 and adjusted EBITDA at US$41 million. It said bookings are trending very positive and expects strong improvements in March and April. Same-property rooms RevPAR was +192.6% year-over-year and -30% versus 4Q19. Pebblebrook is forecasting capex of US$100 to US$120 million in 2022, an increase partially attributable to planned renovations at two recently acquired hotels—Jekyll Island Club Resort and Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa.

Earnings miss by Sunstone: Sunstone Hotel Investors reported 4Q21 results with adjusted EBITDA of US$31.2 million, which was more than 20% below consensus forecasts. It said it faced an earnings shortfall due to COVID-related group cancellations, especially in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Results all fell below expectations with total revenue of -33.3% compared versus 2019; adjusted FFO/share US$0.08; adjusted EBITDA US$31.2 million and comparable hotel EBITDA of US$36.2 million. Sunstone also announced the previously reported sale of the 419-room Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile for US$67.5 million (US$161,000/key). Pricing represents 13.3x EBITDA and a 5.6% NOI cap rate on 2019A metrics.

Online travel market to reach US$765.3 billion by 2025: Driven by accelerating digitization, the global online travel market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8% to reach US$765.3 billion between 2022 and 2025, according to research by GlobalData. Post-pandemic, most travelers want to reduce physical contact, which has changed consumer behavior. As per GlobalData’s recent study, 24% of consumers used an online travel agent the last time they booked a holiday, while only 7% consumers used an in-store face-to-face travel agent. Travel intermediation has changed from traditional high street stores with in-person travel agents to a fragmented online marketplace.

Global construction pipeline remains constant: The global hotel construction pipeline for all of 2021 fell 1% by projects and remained mostly unchanged by rooms to stand at 13,770 projects/2,304,836 rooms, according to Lodging Econometrics. There are 6,101 projects/1,136,680 rooms under construction, while projects expected to start construction in the next 12 months stand at 3,547 projects/518,159 rooms. Projects in the early planning stage and conversion projects peaked to stand at 4,122 projects/649,547 rooms and 1,448 projects/190,322 rooms, respectively. The U.S. led by project count with 4,814 projects/581,953 rooms and China reached a new all-time high with 3,693 projects/700,567 rooms. Dallas, Texas, led as the city with the biggest pipeline with 152 projects/18,180 rooms; Chengdu, China, with 144 projects/29,485 rooms; and Atlanta, Georgia, with 133 projects/17,593 rooms. The leading franchise companies in the global construction pipeline by project count are Marriott International with 2,536 projects/426,744 rooms, Hilton with 2,521 projects/376,251 rooms; InterContinental Hotels Group with 1,652 projects/244,179 rooms; and AccorHotels with 940 projects/166,411 rooms. These four companies account for 56% of all projects in the global pipeline.