Briefs: Trump license deal in Oman; Four Seasons residences in Bahrain

Trump license deal in Oman: The Trump Organization has reportedly struck a deal with Saudi developer Dar Al Arakan to license the Trump brand for a golf resort in the Oman capital of Muscat. The US$1.6 billion development is expected to include a golf course, 400 hotel rooms and 3,500 residential units.

Rendering of Four Seasons Private Residences Bahrain Bay

Four Seasons residences in Bahrain: Four Seasons and Bahrain-based Bayside Developments have announced the launch of Four Seasons Private Residences Bahrain Bay in Manama, Bahrain. Slated to open in late 2023, the property will offer 112 homes, comprising 98 apartments, eight duplexes and six penthouses. Overlooking Bahrain Bay, the property will offer resort-style amenities, an infinity pool, a resident’s lounge, a private cinema and several restaurants. Residents will also get access to the neighboring Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay. The residential project’s architecture is designed by Gensler, with Rive Gauche leading the interior design. Currently, Four Seasons operates 126 hotels and resorts and 51 residential properties across 47 countries, with over 50 properties under planning or development.

China sees record high project, room counts in early planning: China’s hotel construction pipeline saw a marginal 1% rise by projects and remain unchanged by rooms YOY to 3,604 projects/684,288 rooms at the end of the third quarter, according to Lodging Econometrics. Presently, there are 2,543 projects with 462,132 rooms under construction, with projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months at 417 projects with 78,990 rooms. Projects and room counts in the early planning stage touched record highs, up 13% by projects and 8% by rooms YOY, standing at 644 projects/143,166 rooms. The upscale chain scale touched peak project counts, representing 22% of projects and 28% of the rooms in the country’s construction pipeline.

Top 5 cities with largest pipelines:

Chengdu – 140 projects/28,208 rooms
Shanghai – 126 projects/25,308 rooms
Guangzhou – 115 projects/25,277 rooms
Hangzhou – 98 projects/20,448 rooms
Xi’an with 95 projects/17,176

Top 5 franchise companies with largest pipelines:

Hilton Worldwide – 684 projects/124,987 rooms
IHG- 445 projects/92,094 rooms
Marriott International – 385 projects/102,380 rooms
Accor – 199 projects/37,028 rooms
Jin Jiang Holdings – 181 projects/18,249 rooms

Accor’s new gender affirmation policy: To help support its employees to navigate gender identity and affirmation at work, Accor Pacific has launched a new gender transitioning policy. Launched during the ongoing Trans Awareness Week (November 13-20), the policy includes a gender affirmation support plan, up to 20 days’ paid leave and up to 12 months’ unpaid leave for full-time staff (pro-rata for part-time and casual), option to choose uniform, changing names and pronouns in Accor systems and additional training for managers and colleagues where needed. Employees are not required to inform Accor of their gender identity or their need to seek gender affirmation. Employees, however, can choose to be openly gender diverse and/or seek gender affirmation while at work. Employees can also contact Accor’s Pride Network, a peer-led network that encourages an inclusive culture, organizes networking events and knowledge sessions and offers advice on the needs and priorities of LGBTQIA+ team members and raise awareness.

Hazelwood Estate rebrands: Hazelwood Estate, the luxury country retreat in the Scenic Rim region in Queensland, Australia, has been rebranded as Beechmont Estate. The property is also a part of the Northern Escape Collection, a portfolio of boutique lodges and experiences. The estate can host 48 guests in suites and private residences. The property also offers a day spa, bushwalking and a restaurant.

Foreign visitors increase in Japan: The number of foreign travelers visiting Japan soared to around 500,000 in October, the first time since the country reopened its borders to international visitors after over two years of COVID restrictions. On October 11, Japan lifted some of the most stringent border controls. The number of foreign travelers, for both tourism and business, surged to 498,600 in October, more than double September’s 206,500 and increasing by 2,155% from the previous year. The figures are still down 80% from 2019. A total of 1.52 million foreign visitors arrived into Japan, down from the record 31.8 million in 2019. Inbound searches for hotels on the online booking site, Agoda, surged almost 16-fold between January and October, mostly by customers in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. From March 2023, Japan will be reopening its ports to cruise ships, with nearly 166 ships expected to visit next year.

Thanksgiving booking outlook: There has been positive momentum in hotel bookings for the Thanksgiving holiday, with U.S. occupancy data for the week of Thanksgiving standing at 1% higher than pre-COVID levels, according to the latest survey by Amadeus. Based on hotel occupancy, the top destinations have shown that travelers are exploring warmer destinations this Thanksgiving, with Hawaii, Florida, and California featuring in the top 10. Currently, around 55% of transient hotel bookings are made within seven days of travel. The total number of markets with hotel occupancy of more than 50% matched pre-pandemic levels for the Thanksgiving week. Based on flight data for the Thanksgiving week, the highest volume of travelers is heading to major cities like Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas, etc. The top car rental markets also showed a similar trend.