Briefs: Third-party manager to KSA; Hilton grows in India

Third-party manager comes to KSA: Sophos Hotels SA, a third-party operator in Europe with a portfolio of more than 40 hotels, has signed an MOU with Saudi Arabia hotel investor AIMS Hospitality to launch and develop what they say is the first international independent hotel management company in KSA. They have initially agreed on developing and operating several properties located in Jeddah and Makkah that comprise over 2,000 keys.

Hilton grows presence in India: Hilton has signed an agreement with Secunderabad, India-based CKR Resorts Pvt. Ltd. to introduce Hilton’s flagship brand in Hyderabad, India, with Hilton Hyderabad Resort & Spa. Spanning 15 acres, the 115-key resort will include 13 villas with private plunge pools, a fitness center, spa and F&B spaces. Currently, Hilton operates 24 hotels in India, of which seven are Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties.

Oyo IPO tabled: Once high-flying Oyo Hotels, Guragon, India, has reportedly delayed its planned IPO due to a market correction that would likely hurt its valuation. If the SoftBank-owned company restarts the process, it would likely be sometime in 2023, sources said. Oyo was valued at US$9 billion at the start of this year and was planning to raise 84.3 billion rupees (US$1.1 billion) with the sale of new and secondary shares as well as those held by existing investors. Sources also suggested that Oyo would accept a lower valuation in the range of US$7 to US$8 billion as it tries to improve its financial performance by fall.

Financing final for Nobu in KSA: Tourism Development Fund (TDF) has signed a financing agreement with Rimal AlKhobar Real Estate Co., co-owned by Retal Urban Development Co. and Assayel Arabia, to develop the first Nobu complex in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The US$63.5 million project will feature a hotel with over 100 rooms and suites, 62 residential units, a Nobu restaurant and more. TDF was established in June 2020 with US$4 billion in capital to drive tourism growth in Saudi Arabia.

388 Ventures opens The Lenox Collection: 388 Ventures, New York, and tech-based management company Life House announced the opening of The Lenox Collection, three reimagined boutique properties and a restaurant, in Lenox, Massachusetts. Ophelia’s, a 66-seat restaurant and bar offering farm-to-table food, is also opening. In 2021, 388 Ventures acquired the properties and appointed Life House to lead the design and branding as well as oversee hotel and F&B operations through its management platform. The three properties include The Whitlock, earlier known as The Church Street Inn, The Constance and The Dewey, formerly known as Birchwood Inn.

US performance update: Hotel performance in the U.S. improved from last week, showed STR’s latest data through May 21.

  • Occupancy: 68.6% (-3.5%)
  • ADR: US$151.75 (+13.4%)
  • RevPAR: US$104.06 (+9.5%)

Weekly RevPAR level was the highest in the country since mid-July 2019. Among the Top 25 Markets, Miami recorded the highest occupancy increase over 2019 (+4.7% to 77.5%). Notably, New York City registered the highest occupancy level for the week (89.4%), aided by commencement ceremonies at both the New York University and Columbia University. Philadelphia saw the highest occupancy decline from 2019 (-13.2% to 69.8%), while Miami witnessed the highest ADR gain (+42.4% to US$250.75). The steepest RevPAR deficits were seen in San Francisco (-16.2% to US$185.38) and Philadelphia (-12.6% to US$113.97). Overall, the Top 25 Markets posted their highest weekly occupancy, ADR and RevPAR levels in the pandemic-era.

Saudi Arabia’s tourism ranking improves: Saudi Arabia jumped 10 places to the 33rd overall globally in the 2021 World Economic Forum (WEF) Travel and Tourism Development Index which was released on Wednesday at Davos, Switzerland. Saudi Arabia moved from 43rd in 2019 to 33rd in 2021, marking the second largest increase in rankings, driven by improvements in almost all indicators. This was the first report since the country reopened its borders for international tourism in September 2019. KSA improved in 12 of 17 KPIs. The significant improvements include a jump to the 10th from 27th place in business environment, improvement from 47th to 40th for tourism services and a best in world ranking to manage demand pressure and impact.