Rotana launches new brand: Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.-based Rotana launched a new brand, Edge by Rotana. The collection of hotels will retain their branding and link to Rotana’s commercial and management systems. The brand will help the company tap into international markets as it eyes global expansion. Rotana is witnessing growth opportunities in the Middle East region, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt emerging as competitors to established markets. The company said these two countries were likely to be focus areas. The company currently operates 70 properties in the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey and has 42 projects in the pipeline, including 10 within the next three years. Rotana has major signings and new agreements in Bahrain, Manama and Jubail in Saudi Arabia along with expansion plans in the U.A.E., Turkey and Qatar. In Qatar, the company will manage Residences by Rotana. In Egypt, there will be a new property in New Cairo and a Rotana hotel in Alamein.
Mission Hill acquires 2 in Savannah: Mission Hill Hospitality, Denver, Colorado, has acquired the 135-key Aloft Savannah and the 140-key Fairfield Inn & Suites in Savannah, Georgia, marking the company’s 20th and 21st additions to its portfolio. Built in 2017 and 2020 respectively, the Fairfield Inn & Suites and the Aloft Savannah have a combined meeting space of 3,595 square feet, business and fitness centers.
Big changes at Airbnb: Launching its biggest change in a decade, Airbnb has unveiled its Summer Release which includes Airbnb Categories, Split Stays and AirCover for guests, along with a new homepage. Airbnb Categories will present 56 categories that arrange homes based on their style, location, or distance to an activity. When a guest searches for a destination, the search results will be organized by categories relevant to that specific destination. The 56 categories include over 4 million homes. Catered to extended stays, Split Stays will allow guests to split their trip across two homes and allow them to see around 40% additional listings when looking for longer stays. The option will appear within 14 categories. AirCover, protection during travel, will be included for free and also represents the biggest upgrade to customer service in a decade. The protection includes booking protection guarantee, check-in guarantee, get-what-you-booked guarantee and a 24-hour safety line. The redesigned app and website will roll out in the U.S. on Wednesday.
OMRAN, Nikki deal: Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group) has signed a deal with Nikki Beach Hotels to operate a 5-star resort within the Yiti Integrated Tourism Development. The property will have 140 hotel rooms and 30 villas, as well as meeting and event venues and a variety of recreational amenities.
EOS Investors grows in Cape Cod: EOS Investors, New York City, has acquired from the the McClennen family the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for a reported US$102 million. The latest acquisition grows EOS’ portfolio in Cape Cod, following the company’s acquisition of Red Jacket Resorts in 2021. The 120-room oceanfront resort is spread across 27 acres and includes four restaurants, interior and exterior meeting spaces, four tennis courts and swimming pools.
Office occupancy bounces back: With offices gradually calling back employees, there will be around 42% average office occupancy by this month’s end in city centers, showed a recent study by JLL. National office occupancy was around 26% in April 2021 and 8% in April 2020. Sun Belt markets have been leading the way with cities like Austin and Houston already crossing the 50% occupancy mark. Re-entry is expected to continue its rise in the coming months. With increasing office occupancy, urban hotel and group room demand has also been seeing an uptick. In the last week of April, group demand reached 6.2 million room nights, the highest total since the beginning of the pandemic. Additionally, urban hotel RevPAR outdid other hotel segments in March with a 119% increase compared to the March 2021 pandemic trough. The improving demand translated to renewed investor optimism as urban hotel liquidity reached a six-year high in February 2022 (on a trailing 12-month basis), with a 12% increase in transaction volume relative to pre-pandemic levels.
Interval, Westgate renew collaboration: Interval International, Miami, Florida, has renewed its decades-long collaboration with Orlando, Florida-based Westgate Resorts. The affiliation began in 1991 and includes 20 Westgate properties across the U.S. New owners will be enrolled as upgraded Interval Gold members. Interval International, an operating business of Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corp., operates membership programs and its current exchange network consists of around 3,200 resorts in more than 80 countries.
Kimpton’s new pet-friendly services: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has partnered with and Wag!, a mobile-first platform connecting pet parents with pet caregivers, to provide guests and employees access to on-property and at-home walks and drop-ins for their pets at more than 65 Kimpton properties across the U.S. From Wednesday, as part of the partnership, KimptonxWag! will offer 1,000 free 20-minute services (drop-ins or walks) which can be redeemed by guests or staff. Guests will also get access to a complimentary month of Wag! Premium with each stay at a participating Kimpton property. With the premium facility, guests will receive a discount of 10% on every pet service booked, waived booking fees and 24/7 access to chats with a vet. KimptonxWag! will also release limited-edition, co-branded dog bathrobes.